- Train in mindfulness
It's time to wake up and be more conscious of how you're using your computer or phone. I remember the days of wearing a watch which I constantly looked at even when I forgot to put it on. Get tuned in to unproductive habits and change them. Every time you get a digital alert, there's a slight increase in stress hormones released in your brain. When rapid fire, this effect takes a toll. It causes fatigue and sets you up to be more easily triggered to irritations, frustrations or anger. You lose coping skills. So if you begin to notice these unhealthy behaviors, you can get on a path to making more optimal choices. But first you have to pay attention on purpose!
- Offload social media mania
Many people are guilty of being on the Internet endless hours a day. Studies show a significant result is an increase in overall unhappiness. If your work requires social media screen time, you can use aggregate sites to manage delivery automatically. Sites like Hootsuite and Edgar offer the ability to create messages for all your social media outlets at once. You can create a month of postings in an hour and thus manage your time more effectively and minimize your exposure to all those annoying and manipulative posts and tweets, etc. Pick one day and track the amount of time you spend online so you'll conclusively know your hourly investment. If it's cumulatively more than 90 minutes, commit to scaling back.
- Improve concentration and productivity by taking regular breaks
To optimize performance, neuroscientists suggest a mental time-out every 90 minutes. Take a minute or two to stretch, stand tall, sigh, breath deeply. It gives your body and brain a chance to refresh and reset. In fact, slow, deep breaths signal the nervous system to calm down and oxygenate cells to perform more optimally. I’ve created a “productivity pause” which is a 3-minute period to clear all thoughts using a guided experience. It’s free at 3MinutestoDestress.com. The more often you practice taking time to quiet your mind, the better your brain functions. By resting your mind, you actually increase your effectiveness and productivity. It seems counter-intuitive but it's actually a way to expand time!
- Filter what you see and hear
Instead of reacting with judgment, fear or anger, stop to consider that perhaps the information is neither good nor bad. It just IS! And whatever it is will pass! Everything is in a state of change, like the ebb and flow of tides. Remain calm and centered. Fear is an enemy of rational and creative thinking. Steve Jobs once said "...Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition." Trust your own instincts and the more you tune in to your inner guidance system, the more you will connect to universal truths.
- Create an intentional morning routine to maintain balance
More and more successful CEOs and entrepreneurs recognize the benefits of beginning the day with a brief period of deliberate quiet. By allowing time to self-reflect for 10 minutes before even getting out of bed, you establish more positive intentions for how you want to show up in your day. This activity builds brain health. You’re able to focus more strategically and use energy more wisely. Keep yourself from jumping online which immediately propels you off course with distractions. Be vigilant in sticking to your self-care routine.
- Spend real in-person time with friends, family, associates, employees
Turn off all devices and look into their eyes as you communicate. Connect person to person. Recently, I listened to a presentation about a two-income family. Late at night the couple was in bed, each plugged into their personal tablets responding to work emails and texts. Suddenly the wife got a text: "Do you want to talk?" It seemed an innocuous question until she realized it was from her husband who was a touchable distance from her. So talk, touch, interact and be fully present when you're with people who are important in your life.
- Take a "digication" (my new word!)
Deliberately unplug for at least an hour a day from news and electronics, Take a quiet walk in nature. Listen to relaxing music. Write in a journal. Make love. Use the time to clear your thoughts and de-stress. Reconnect to your sensory perceptions. If you can't access a pleasant experience for a break, visualize one. Activating your five senses is important to maintain connections within your brain's neural pathways. I work with clients with severe anxiety and by fully visualizing their "happy place" with all its colors, shapes, sounds, smells and feelings, they feel happier. They feel as if they are there in that joyful spot. Creating visualizations can release feel-good hormones that interrupt traumatic or painful thoughts and patterns. So if you can't physically get away, visualize yourself disconnected from all your buzzing and ringing. For certain, you'll feel better!