Slow Down and Tune In
One of the greatest gifts that weightlifting taught me was the importance of slowing down, taking deep breaths, and sticking with the task even when I want to walk away. The idea is not to get lost in the work, but to become more aware about how you, how your body responds to the work you are doing.
When you are intently focused on a subject it helps you to clear your mind and build mental muscle, so that when the environment around you starts to feel chaotic you are better able to manage.
Here are a few suggestions to help you practice slowing down, so that you can tune in:
Look for an opportunity to stay engaged in an activity that requires you to stay focused and in deep reflection for at least 15-20 minutes each day.
1) Enlist a partner – this could be your spouse, friend, neighbor, co-worker to engage with you at least once a day about an article you are both familiar with or a task that involves critical thinking which you need to talk through or otherwise receive feedback on. Some examples include:
a. Meditations/scripture discussion
b. Professional/self-help article
2) Read scripture or meditations on your own. Then google an article or two about the topic. Journal what you understand and your interpretation of it.
3) Read an old-fashioned paper back or hard bound book. You will need highlighters, sticky notes, and a pen/pencil. Read actively --- take notes/ask questions/make predictions in the margins, highlight important passages, look up words you do not know. Engage with the book.
4) Complete a word find, sudoku, or crossword each day. Set a timer and try beating your time for solving the puzzle each time you complete one.
Engage away from the chatter of work, children, life. Try to find at least 15 minutes of quiet to concentrate on nothing, but the task.
Like most things, being able to dedicate your entire mind to a task, to control it and slow it down takes practice. Be gentle with yourself. If you find that your mind wanders, consider why this is happening.
Are you tired?
Are you frustrated?
Are you overwhelmed?
Are you just not in a place to concentrate?
If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, then consider the following tips:
Tired --- rest. Even a 15 - 20 minute nap will help.
Frustrated --- Identify the source of your frustration -- the silly part of me wants to say punch it in the face and tell it to stop, but since you cannot do that --- determine if you can handle what is frustrating you, now. If not, write it down and don't stop writing until you have it all out. Then go back to what you need to concentrate on.
Overwhelmed --- make a list of what you need to accomplish --- then prioritize. If you cannot decide on the priority, then call someone who can help you. Then work through the list one item at a time --- crossing it off as you finish.
Not in a place to concentrate --- consider moving locations or grab a set of head phones and turn on some tunes while you work. And, if it is your mind that is taking over then keep giving it to God. Ask Him to come in and take over while you work.
Slowing down and tuning into your body will help you to learn more about what you need. In addition, having a few tricks in your pocket will help you to prepare yourself, so that you can show up for others and make good sound decisions as you work through the day.
Remember to slow down, tune in and have a beautiful day ya'll!
All My Love,
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