Do you ever wonder how to keep your mind from going a million directions at once?
Imagine if your thoughts were like untamed puppies, running around full throttle, peeing wherever they want, and chewing everything in sight.
Now imagine a well-trained, eager, attentive dog looking at you with those doggie love eyes. You could spend your days tripping over and cleaning up after puppies or throwing a ball and holding your hand out as it is retrieved. Which mind do you want?
While it might seem like your puppy mind is running the show, you can retrain your mind to a well-behaved, pleasure to be with friend that is in service to you.
Below I share some resources I use to help me lovingly team the beast of my mind.
And that is the secret: to love your mind into submission rather than trying to judge or punish or force it to your will.
Okay, let’s go back to all of those puppies. Imagine trying to punish all those rolly polly bundles of fur.
Some puppies might start behaving better, but they will probably cower or run when they see you. Some puppies will rebel, give you a f-you attitude, and defy you to make them do anything.
Similarly, your mind doesn’t do well with punishment in the long term.
Sure, it might work for a bit. But your mind will not be your friend.
Let’s go for being friends with our minds, shall we? Let’s go for a “YAY what do you want me to do next?” mind.
I just finished writing my seventh book. It takes a super amount of concentration, some high-powered focus, and a wee bit of insanity to spend the long hours needed to write a book.
It’s all too easy for your brain to freeze up on you and refuse to cooperate if you try to force it.
I learned this the hard way when I wrote the first draft of my first book.
I pushed. I forced. I demanded. And the writing that came out…was terrible.
Stilted. Uninspired. Even dogmatic.
The writing reflected what I was doing to my mind.
So I had to learn a new way to manage my inner flow. It involves frequent dance parties, lots of mind petting and praising, and a few life-saving concentration techniques.
Here are my tips for mind management:
– Relax and stay light. Don’t let yourself get too serious. Unless someone is bleeding out it is probably not the emergency your mind is creating it to be.
– Set aside concentrated time to work, with frequent breaks.
– Use a timer to help you focus. I use both focusatwill.com and the Pomodoro technique. I’ve found when I have an external timer set for 25 minutes or so I can crank on my task and then take a break to keep my mind limber.
– Be creative for your breaks: 5 minute dance party. Jumping jacks. Making a cup of tea. Stretching. Lying down for a power nap. If you are at work and unable to have a full out dance party in your cubicle, put on headphones and jam out internally to a song. Or put your head on your desk for two minutes. Or walk slowly to the bathroom, exaggerating your breathing.
– Know your own rhythm. If you are a morning person do the most difficult tasks then. Mix up tasks at different times of the day to help use different parts of your brain.
– Set boundaries and minimize distractions. Don’t keep two dozen tabs open on your computer. Click out of Facebook. Set your messages to not notify you. Often when I am doing something offline I’ll turn my wifi off so I’m not tempted to “just pop in and check my messages!” That never ends well.
– Constantly sweet talk your mind. “You are doing great! Just a little bit longer! I love how focused you are!” Go for praising the results you want rather than judging the thoughts and actions you are trying to change.
Do you have any other suggestions for loving discipline? Please share below!