In life there are some days when it is difficult to concentrate on anything productive. Being a mom of eighteen-months-old twins does not give me a lot of opportunities for concentration because I constantly get distracted by dirty diapers, feeding routines, screaming, cleaning, cooking and a thousand of other things. In those moments my brain reminds me of an attic full of life-long-old stuff. And even though I know that there are some valuable things up there it gets completely impossible to find these things when I need them. This life has forced me to discover some ways that helped to clear my mind and find inspiration for essential tasks. I hope that these tips will be as useful to you as they are to me.
- Get outside. Sunshine, fresh air and nature always do miracles for me. If you spend the whole day inside (and that’s exactly what most people do) then your body and your mind simply crave this freedom from the walls or cubicles, this unity with the outside world. Sitting on the porch, doing some yard work, sleeping in the hammock or going to the park – anything will work; just choose your favorite occupation.
- Go for a walk. Walking provides benefits of being outside with physical activity. That’s the easiest way for me to be outside as I can always go for a walk with the babies and all three of us will have a great time together. Walking brings some magical piece and quiet into the mind and helps me to sort all my thoughts out.
- Go running. According to the latest research running has been proven to stimulate the growth of new brain cells, increase mental sharpness and concentration. For me running is the best time to think and that’s when I get most of my inspiration.
- Listen to some inspirational music. While you sit outside, walk or run it’s important to have the right soundtrack that will help your mind unclutter itself and make room for new thoughts. I like music that does not make me think about the words of the song. Some of my favorites are classical music (Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi), modern instrumentals like Apocaliptica or foreign singers like Mylene Farmer (a French singer).
- Exercise. It might seem that I am repeating myself but I just want to emphasize the importance of exercise in clearing your mind. If you cannot go for a walk or for a run then you can always workout for 10 or 15 minutes. All types of exercise stimulate blood circulation in your body and that is why it increases blood flow to your brain. Do sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, squats, whatever you like and whatever you can do at that moment. I personally like Yoga and Pilates because they promote mind and body balance and allow a person to concentrate on breathing and cleanse their mind through body movements.
- Practice media detox. It’s always a good idea to live at least one or two days during the week without media clutter. Start with one evening without TV, social networking, web surfing, newspapers, email and even a cell phone. Enjoy some time with your family or give yourself some time to think without any interruptions and do nothing.
- Change your diet. A lot of foods make your body and YOUR MIND lazy and it’s important to give your brain some foods that will stimulate its activity. Fatty fish like salmon, fresh berries, avocados, brightly colored vegetables and whole grains must be the base of the mind-friendly diet. Another factor is moderation as overeating often makes you tired, sleepy and slothful.
- Take a bath or shower. If there is no time for anything else then a hot shower or bath can be a real life saver providing peace and quiet for the mind and body.
- Get a massage. A massage releases tension in the muscles and brings your mind and body into balance. Getting a massage at a spa at least once a month is a good practice but if you do not have the time or money for it then you can always ask your significant other for a massage session. This session can grow into something further that would also be a good way to clear your mind and get inspired.
- Watch your favorite inspirational movie or read your inspirational book. When I feel exhausted and completely out of balance I always watch my favorite movie Legally Blonde. Some people might think that it’s silly but they are not here to judge me and the most important is that it always helps.
- Write it down (expressive writing). Whatever there is on your mind just write it down in any way that will be convenient for you. I personally prefer the old-fashioned notebook and my own hand writing. As soon as I write my thoughts or worries down they leave my mind and give me room for my next thought. You can start with a simple question like ‘What should I do?’ and keep writing down all the thoughts that come to your mind.
- Drink a cup of coffee with a square of dark chocolate. I am not an avid coffee drinker and I can’t imagine my day and even a week without even a drop of it, but sometimes this magical brown liquid can perform real miracles for me. My favorite is black (without sugar or milk) strong Turkish coffee. Even a few drops of this drink energize my body and mind and a square of dark chocolate adds a little bit more pleasure to this ritual. It’s also believed that just a little bit of sugar and cocoa beans can sharpen your mind and make you more alert. This works wonders for me, but I do not practice it more that 2 times a week.
In order to write this article I used three tips mentioned above – a nice relaxing walk, expressive writing and a cup of coffee. I hope the effectiveness of these techniques talk for themselves. Clearing your mind for everyday tasks is not rocket science and it will help you find inspiration in every day routines, find new approaches to old problems and bring a little bit more balance into your life.
Keep it balanced!