Ouch my head is hurting today. I have been doing too much thinking but I haven’t had time to think. Know what I mean? Lucky that I stumbled upon this BBC article that gives me five ways to beat the grind and think more clearly: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7530594.stm
Our rational thinking brain needs space for digestion of all the information that we take in. More importantly by giving our brain more space we give our somatic, feeling mind more space too. From this space grow great ideas and grounded, authentic communication.
- Choose your moment – no more skipping lunch.
- Choose your location – the loo, driving, shower or the train?
- Have your props to hand – mine’s and Earl grey.
- Give yourself less to think about – defrag your brain and clear out the hard drive.
- Have the desire to think – get desperate!
Yes, you have got to take the time to read the full article to get the benefits of this piece: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7530594.stm
I am a fan of Tom Hodgkinson and the Idler. Read an interview with Tom ‘How to be Idle’. Check out his Crap Holidays - just to see which you have done!
Contact me for thoughts and ideas: email@example.com.
It is when we are in authentic communication with ourselves that we can operate with integrity and presence in the world. Sometimes we get exquisite moments where we feel truly connected. Connected to our self, to others and to the world. Our tasks seem effortless and the fruits of our labour seem to come with a natural ease. We can get lost in the moment, so that we lose our sense of time, and experience a sense of flow where we are working at the height of our abilities.
I have spent the last eight days on a yoga retreat in the depths of beautiful Kent countryside. As part of this we meditated every morning for 20 minutes, and this has helped me to re-establish a short daily practice again. Meditation is a highly effective way to achieve this sense of connection.
By focusing and supporting the mind, the power of the brain is focused instead of being dissipated by its tendency to get distracted and go ‘off piste’. At the physical level this increases our ability to concentrate, to make decisions and communicate with ease because we are more focused and present. At a physiological level, meditation positively alters the electrical activity in the brain. During meditation the brainwaves are predominantly alpha waves, which are the frequency associated with feelings of wellbeing. Essentially by creating alpha waves in our brain, meditation gives us a feeling of wellbeing that is then mirrored by the body. For example, the heart starts to be entrained into coherence and this is associated with reductions in blood pressure. (Recent research has shown that meditation achieves a significant reduction of up to 4.7 mm systolic blood pressure and 3.2 mm diastolic blood pressure).
However, many people find that the biggest benefits are on the psychological/emotional level. Meditation helps us to build resilience and improve our psychological stamina so that we are more effective and authentic more of the time. It helps us to perform to consistently high standards, even under great pressure. And, over time, it connects us to our inner teacher which guides us with wisdom in our busy lives. And the results are amazingly quick. You will notice benefits after only a week or two of practising once a day for 10 to 15 mins.
Listen to my 7 minute meditation podcast on counting the breath. This is so easy to do anywhere, anytime.
For more resources and information on meditation contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feel the Monday morning blues lurking? Sense of panic creeping in at the thought of going back to the office tomorrow? Monday mornings are officially the most stressful time of the week, and people are more likely to have a heart attack at this time too. Here is a simple breath meditation that will help you to calm down and stay serene as you go back to work.
One of my toughest challenges is prioritising and developing the ability to say ‘no’ to myself. If you are like me, and have a passion and interest in many things, it can be even harder to say no. When the crunch comes, and for the sake of our own sanity we have to think long and hard about what it is that we really need to be spending time on. Where is it that our time and energy is most effectively spent and where can we reclaim some space back? How do we do this?
Consider who you are, your sense of identity. Am I a professional communicator or a stress management practitioner? I am a firm believer in the route to success being in focusing on the one thing you do well, and doing it well.
Then discover your deep values and stay connected to them. This applies to organisations as much as it does to us as individuals. This then organises and guides behaviours, goals and actions.
Perhaps even more important than this, explore your purpose or mission. Are you here to leave a legacy or to be a beacon for others?
Then put a ruthless commercial perspective on your activities and consider the return on investment that you are getting. This does not have to mean financial investment or reward. If, for example, you are doing some voluntary work and are struggling to find the motivation to honour your promises, think about what’s in it for you. This will help you to focus. If you are getting some good networking relationships from it, it is likely to be quite motivating. But if the exchange is all one way, its probably time to make a quick exit. Just quit. There is honour in that.
I have been procrastinating writing a feature article for 2 days. I got stressed thinking about this task because I thought it would be difficult to write. It is now overdue and my client is chasing me. I had two whole days. Yet I filled them with messing around on facebook, sorting out email queries and doing administration. Procrastination is a strategy that gives us temporary relief from stress. I had a great time uploading photos of my cats and my friends to facebook. But boy, my stress levels were at their highest late last night when I realised I still hadn’t written the article!
Today I sat down and got it written in 2 hours – a 1,600 word feature piece. Here’s what I did:
Deal with Distractions
I recognised my 3 deadly sins (Well there are more, but I don’t want to shock):
• Facebook: write a big post it note, stick it on your monitor “Facebook is banned until you have finished this task”. Shut down and log out.
• Email – close outlook completely. Don’t get distracted.
• Trivia – how on earth do the most mundane chores become so interesting and absorbing when you have a pressing job to complete? Ban yourself from distractions until you are finished …. but remember to promise yourself time to play afterwards.
Begin with a Brief
I write a short single page brief for myself with the objectives and the key messages that I want to get across to influence, persuade or convince.
Have a process
Then I get a large white sheet of blank paper (A3) and lay it out on the floor. I do a mind map of the report I am writing. (In this case, I had already done the interviews and research).
• Firstly I access my creative state: I don’t worry about order at this point – I just get everything down. When that large blank sheet of white paper is in front of me it serves as an anchor to help me get into creative space, where ‘anything goes’.
• Realist: Once it feels like I have got everything down, I then put on my ‘realist’ persona – how will this flow best? What order do things need to be in to get my messages across? What are my core messages?
• Finally I need a good critic. I access that part of me that is a bit of a nit-pick, who can help me see the flaws in the piece so far. What is the word count likely to be? Do you really need all that information? What is the barest amount you can get away with without losing the message?
This process that helps me build a framework or skeleton on which I can then hang the work in progress. This is a familiar rhythm for me and in starting this, my somatic self recognises that I am well on the way to completing the work, so I guess my brain is releasing the feel good hormones at this point.
All I have to do then is sit at the computer and start writing, with the mind map in front and my notes to hand. And voila!