In these extraordinary times there is a lot that is outside our control. However the one thing we can do is to take care of our own minds. Arguably the most important aspect of our lives we can take care of.
As Vicktor Fankl ( a psychiatrist, Auschwitz survivor and author of the seminal work Man’s Search for Meaning), puts it:
‘Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’
Our attitude is determined by our state of mind. So, back to the question posed at the being of the blog.
Care of our mind and developing our own self-awareness can be enhanced from whatever our start point by two simple routines and a tool kit. These can help us when we know we are being taken away with corrosive thoughts, ‘catastrophising’ and rapidly approaching a vortex of despair! Which, as we all know can happen very quickly!
Is known as the Early Morning Club which is mentioned in numerous success literatures, books and publications. Get into the habit of rising an hour earlier than usual, before the day has started and runs away with itself. This could be as early as 5am-6am or earlier! Design a 60 min routine for yourself made up of 10-15min chunks:
Do not dive straight into e mails and social media!
- Mindfulness meditation
- Journalling -writing down whatever is in your head
- Learning – developing our professional or personal capabilities ( online course, TED Talks, books, blogs etc)
- Planning the day
Early Morning Club sets us up for the day in front of us.
A daily tool kit
As we proceed through the day we can enhance our mind and moods by the following:
- Taking time to show appreciation and gratitude for the smallest of things.
- Pausing between tasks for a few moments to gather our thoughts and visualise what we are going to do next. This is called Segment Intending.
- Positive thinking, as soon as we recognise we have a negative thought replace it with something positive.
- Small 1-2 mins of short mindfulness practice.
- Taking a walk and ‘breathing in’ what nature has to offer.
- A random act of kindness to a colleague, friend, family member or complete stranger.
These might seem a bit prosaic during our manic day, but they are proven to improve our mental state, wellbeing and happiness.
Keep these concepts in place, as back of pocket tools we can bring out when needed. So when the corrosive thoughts come and visit us we can develop our emotional pause button….stop and use one of the techniques mentioned above.
EDS -Evening Digital Shutdown
Being always on is not good for our mind and wellbeing. Get into the routine of setting a time when you come out of work mode. Turn off incoming alerts from your devices and challenge yourself not to look at them to you finish your EMC ( Early Morning Club) the following day.
As a wise man once said ‘our calm mind is our ultimate weapon against our challenges’ and the routines and tool kit mentioned will help us develop a calmer mind. A calm mind is more critical, now more than ever during the restrictions and challenges in the face of the COVID 19 outbreak.