DAY 5: INNER QUIET
Welcome to Day 5 of ‘7 to Unstoppable’! Look at you – almost at the home stretch!
For the last four days, we focused on strengthening our mind, our emotions, our bodies. They are all interrelated, and the best part is, the benefits of strengthening one of these spills on to the others too.
Today we will work on our minds some more. We will be making our minds quiet and contemplative, and then condition it to how we want. We are after strength and clarity.
Ready? Here we go.
Today’s challenge is:
- Find a quiet, interrupted place in your house. Sit in a comfortable position and slowly rid yourself of all the trivial thoughts in your mind. If the room is bright, turn off the lights – it will help you focus better. Or if it is daytime, just close your eyes. Now back to your thoughts. The phone call you had to return, your plans for the weekend, all those non-essential thoughts – eject them from your mind, one by one. This is NOT easy – we are used to crowding our minds to the point of chaos nowadays. So this may take some time. Don’t stress out too much though – go at it slowly. One by one, push trivial thoughts from your mind.
- Once your mind is sufficiently empty, we will go into ‘conditioning’ mode. Think how you want to feel this week. To make this easier, you can imagine how you want to be that is going to make you feel the best, most awesome version of yourself. For example: “I want to feel in control of everything happening around me” OR “I want to feel badass and powerful” or something else. Think of just one sentence. NOW, switch the “I want to feel” to “I am”. Example: “I AM in control of everything happening around me” OR “I AM badass and powerful!” This is your affirmative thought for the day.
- With your eyes still closed, or the lights still turned off, repeat your affirmative thought to yourself over and over for a few minutes. You can do it in your head or out loud – depending on how you feel. I personally like to do it in my head.
(Steps 1 to 3 should take about 15 minutes in total)
- Once your 15 minutes are up, open your eyes and leave the room. Now commit to spending at least one hour in silence without the use of technology, social media, etc. You can still go about your day i.e. do the dishes, get ready for work, etc. But for ONE HOUR, try to refrain from speaking to anyone or grabbing your phone to check Facebook.
The reason for this is to keep you MINDFUL and FOCUSED on your affirmative thoughts, and not let the outside work detract you from the ‘zone’ your brain is in.
- After your hour is up, go about your day as you normally would, but try to repeat your affirmative thought to yourself every few hours.
BONUS: Try to do this at least once a week, starting from now. You will be amazed at the mental clarity you start to gain once you make a habit of it.
If your life is anything like mine, there is an endless stream of distractions everywhere. You may want to sit down to work on an article/project/etc, but you are bombarded by Facebook notifications, Tweets, emails, your phone buzzing, etc. Sometimes it feels next to impossible to just get that one thing done in a timely and effective manner.
Here are 6 steps that worked for me and can work for you too. How to clear your head of the noise of the buzzing outside world:
- Switch off your Facebook. Studies show that the average person spends almost 4 hours a day on social networking sites. That is one sixth of your day gone, scrolling through your newsfeeds, clicking ‘Like’, and sharing useless videos about cats and dancing babies. No wonder you can’t get anything done. Switch off Facebook. And while you’re at it, switch off your Twitter and Instagram too.
- Put your phone on silent. When you are sitting down to write, do yourself a favour and put your phone on silent. Think about it, when you are at a seminar or a classroom, you put your phone on silent as an act of respect for the speaker. So why can you not give yourself the same respect and allow your brain some quality uninterrupted time?
- Drop the unnecessary commitments. If you are the type of person who has a tendency to commit to several things at once, you are only stressing your brain out. You are not being able to focus on the things that are actually important or interesting to you, because your brain is too busy being occupied by the not-that-important-or-interesting-but-I’ll-do-it-anyway things. Quit it.
- Get moving. A few times a week, hit up a treadmill/stationary bike/running path. It’s not about going hard and sweating up a storm – it is about getting the blood flowing to your brain and allowing yourself the space to generate ideas. There is just something incredibly zen about being on that bike and brainstorming a world of ideas..
- Jot it down. If you have too many to-do items swimming around in your head, jot them down. Whether it is post-its stuck around your computer monitor, or Google calendar entries, just put the thoughts down on paper (or digital). Just seeing them in front of you makes everything seem less daunting, and lets your brain relax for a bit.
- Celebrate the small successes. Done steps 1-5 and already accomplished a thing or two? Hooray! However small the victory, always remember to take a moment to be proud and even share it with a friend/partner or do a little happy dance. Pat yourself on the back and keep going!
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