As mentioned in part 1 I conducted a series of experiments to work out how I could improve my sense of well-being, reduce my anxiety levels, improve my relationships and feeling of being at my best.
Probably no surprise is that there was no one single answer. What I did learn was that a more system-based approach has started to work for me.
What do I mean by system-based approach?
To feel and perform at my best needed 3 things to be aligned
What I found was if I did one thing well e.g. regular meditation but I didn’t have a clear intention for the day or for a meeting I would not be at my best; I would lose part of the value of the meditation. If I went into a meeting with clear intent on what the desired outcome was and become distracted by pings and dings then the outcome may not be achieved.
This was the first step for me — my normal mind is cluttered and full of NUTS (nagging unfinished things), overly-negative self-talk, worry and anxiety.
What I learnt was my cluttered mind negatively impacted my behaviours — I was constantly distracted by trying to recall things I needed to do; when my mind was pre-occupied with random thoughts or running through the doomsday scenarios I was not present in the moment; I was certainly not acting with any clear intention.
My clear mind strategy is two-fold:
I carry a notebook to capture anything that I may need to recall later — I don’t want to have to think about it again; I may not have decided exactly what it means or if I will actually do it I just don’t want to have to think about it.
I learnt how critical mindset is — I wish I had been more aware of this years ago. I always let my view of the world be influenced by external events or people. I now realise that I can determine how I show up, how I see events, I have more control over how I will feel and behave than I had thought — this was a game changer.
I learnt that I can choose how I interpret situations and events.
I can plan for events where I have some control and let go of those that I cannot control.
I have had to learn to deal with uncertainty and not assume that the worst will always happen but learnt that accepting I cannot know the certainty of every outcome
All these have contributed to a more calm mind and one that is easier to clear for good quality thinking.
When I have clear space I am much more likely to think about what I want from a call, a meeting, project, day or week. I was very inconsistent at being clear what my intent was — I would just let things happen — and that would often have me feeling less than happy.
Mindfulness may be an overused term however I have found when I have set a clear intent it’s a more mindful approach.
If I set an intention to have a relaxing Saturday, to recharge from a hard week. I will do things that will relax, refresh and rejuvenate me.
Then I’m far more likely to feel energised and refreshed than if I just let the day happen.
Also if I’m setting my intent with a clear mind I’m more likely to set positive intents — my mind won’t be distracted by noise and clutter.
A clear mind and clear intent are all very well but real life can come at you 100MPH and quickly throw you off track.
What I learnt again was there is no one approach, tool, app, skill that will solve this. Having a toolbox at the ready was for me a better approach.
These are the day-to-day practices that help me get things done — they work together to help propel me towards more positive outcomes.
Given that I won’t get this moment again will this be the best use of my time right now…
This gives me the hint to manage any distractions, and focus on what I’m doing right now. Monotasking rules!
This also extends into being present in any moment to take advantage of whatever that moment presented to me — be it a business opportunity, a new personal connection, a glorious sunny morning…a cluttered negative mind never left any space for these moments.
The secret for me was doing these consistently. As soon as I stopped being consistent I found mind clutter built up and set a chain reaction that meant I stopped being effective, I stopped being intentional, I stopped being present…
Ultimately I’m the same person, I just got the ineffective version of me out of the way. Getting clear space to think, to be mindful in intention and action has made a huge difference. And I don’t think I have lost my edge, in fact, I think it’s the opposite being more intentional, present and mindful has made me more effective.
Just goes to show…
Does this resonate with you?
Originally published at medium.com