In yesterday’s article I gave you a tip to help with overcoming overwhelm. Today is a second tip for dealing with the sense of overload which is also going to help build more mental resilience. We are going to call it Mindgym.
Mindgym is exercising your brain to build new muscle which is actually building new neural pathways to your pre-frontal cortex – your “smart and logical brain”.
We know with brain plasticity that we can actually create new neural pathways which then become new and preferred ways of thinking and then being. I get so excited talking about this topic as it’s a game changer when it comes to overcoming adversity and having greater mental toughness and resilience!
How we do this is by training our mind to focus on what is happening in the here and now, by noticing when our thoughts drift to the past and the future. Particularly with thoughts of worry and frustration. Our thoughts of the past cannot change the past, and nor can our thoughts of the future. It is our actions that will make the difference.
So given that most of us don’t have a time travel machine to take us to the past or the future, it seems a waste of time to take our minds there if all it does is cause worry and frustration. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Probably where the saying “It may never happen” came from.
So how do we do this?
Try this …….
Give yourself 5 minutes and do a mindfulness exercise. I recommend using one of these apps:
The Happiness Trap
Mindfulness is one of the most effective Mindgym techniques. Plus there is so much evidence now of how effective it is in helping us reset our minds, that some researchers are suggesting it is just as effective as taking antidepressants for people that suffer depression and anxiety.
People who have depression or anxiety have a tougher time being able to reset their minds so if this works for those folk, it can work for all of us.
The best way to practice Mindfulness is to download one of the many free apps onto your phone. I do this once a day for 10 minutes and it has been a game changer for me and many of my clients.
Mindfulness has short and long term benefits. Short term it will help relax you, longer term it will help you be able to reset your mind towards preferred ways of thinking and being. This can take 8 weeks of practice before you notice it. So don’t give up after just a few goes!
Google, Nike,Goldman Sachs and Apple have all implemented Mindfulness programs. In 2015, I had 15 CEO’s complete a 6 minute Mindfulness practice which proved to improve their overall wellbeing. Since then most of my clients have found incorporating mindfulness into their daily routine for themselves led to less reactivity and greater emotional intelligence. For their teams the benefit was greater teamwork, cohesion and productivity.
Feeling overloaded comes from not giving ourselves an opportunity to reset our brain, by taking breaks, to turn back on our problem solving logical brain to deal with what we need to do. I get it, it seems counter intuitive to stop to get more done, and to feel less overloaded.
But, it is what you need to do.
Margie Ireland works with CEO’s, executives, HR professionals, managers and leaders. Margie is a Psychologist with a strong commercial background of 25 years and specialises in supporting highly capable leaders to thrive in challenging times.