Are you fed up with having brain fog and not being able to concentrate? Are you having aches and pains in your body although you haven’t done anything to cause them? Or maybe you are working on a very important project, and you keep fidgeting unable to focus?
I feel you.
I woke up this morning full of motivation, sat down to write, and found myself thinking about the book I want to read, what I’m going to have for lunch and how much I can’t concentrate. Still staring at a blank page.
If you’re feeling like you can’t rest mentally and that your brain goes on strike when you need it the most, you need to get your hands dirty. Don’t worry it won’t ruin your nails. And it may turn out that this is the best stress management strategy you will ever use!
But, before we start, get my FREE guide 5 mistakes you make that cost you energy in the morning! Identify the mistakes and bounce out of bed feeling energetic tomorrow morning! Get it HERE.
Ready to battle stress?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could dedicate all our mental energy to all the things we want to do? Or use a never-ending supply of motivation whenever we feel like it?
What would you be able to accomplish in your day if you stayed on point, focused, and productive?
I know I would complete the tasks I planned for the day and then have some time left to do the things that I love to do.
I may do a quick class of yoga to stretch my body and clear my mind. I may plan a nourishing meal and enjoy cooking it. Or I may get lost in the book I’m currently reading. Or I may just sit down on a couch guilt-free!
How about you?
What would mental clarity allow you to do?
Here comes stress
Sure, it can feel frustrating when you want to focus on something, and you can’t. You may feel energetic, but if you can’t concentrate on the task at hand, you use more energy trying to stay concentrated than actually concentrating.
Whether you realize it or not, all those feelings have one common thread and that is stress.
Stress shuts down your ability to focus.
You may think, this is only your focus. But have you noticed how your mood plummets too? How your irritability rises? Or maybe you have already started noticing a headache?
I know how you feel.
It’s hard to get things done when stress takes over your mental capabilities. It is very hard to win the day when you keep staring at something but then you lose your motivation.
Have you tried weeding?
But don’t beat yourself up.
It is impossible not to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Our lives are so fast-paced that we rarely have a moment to let our minds switch off.
Neuroscience shows us that our brain can sustain focus for around 90 minutes. Then it goes on strike, regardless of if you want it to go or not.
There are different ways to stay productive. And one way to keep your productivity up is to incorporate stress breaks into your day. (Read here about stress breaks if you missed it 3 hacks to be more productive)
But I want to go a little bit further and invite you to get your hands dirty.
On the 22nd of April, we are going to celebrate Earth Day. Of course, you can participate in one of the many initiatives to invest in our planet (BTW, this is this year’s theme too). But I’m talking more about doing some gardening in your own backyard.
In order to reduce mental stress, you need to do some weeding.
The concept of gardening or weeding to be exact may be new to you. Especially when we talk about stress. So how does it work?
When you do weeding in your garden bed, you are removing all undesired plants. They are undesired in that particular place or growing at that particular time. Or simply, they are weeds that steal your space and nutrients.
You need to remove them to make space for what you really want to plant.
It goes the same way when we talk about mental stress. Your brain is preoccupied with all the ‘undesired plants’ that there is no space for any creative work.
You need to remove the unwanted thoughts, tasks, objects, or even people to stress less.
Once the distraction is taken away from your garden bed, you have all the space to plant seeds that will grow to produce fruit.
The work of 3
I like working in 3. Why? Because our brain can easily remember three tasks. The more tasks on our list, the more confused our brain gets.
First, when you feel yourself being distracted, clear your external environment. Maybe your desk is full of objects that steal your focus?
Unclutter your physical space and you will unclutter your mental space too.
Second, make a list of all the tasks that occupy your mind. Are you thinking about a birthday present for your friend? Or what you’re going to eat for dinner? Or that you need to book a hair appointment?
Remove anything that is not necessary right now to free up that precious space in your garden bed.
Third, select 3 tasks that you will dedicate all your focus on and allocate time when you will do them. When you clearly see where your attention needs to go, it is easier to allocate it there.
See how easy weeding is? And your nails didn’t get broken.
We may have the best intention when we start on something, but mental stress can easily derail us.
It is not only when we sit down to do creative work or work on a project, but also when we plan to stick to the changes we want to make in our health and wellness.
When you stay focused on the task at hand and pay attention to what needs to be done, you deliver real results.
Otherwise, we use all our energy on trying to stay focused and motivated, rather than actually performing the tasks.
Aches, pains, headaches, frustration, or even worse can be the price to pay for the lack of mental clarity.
To make sure that you don’t give in to the mental stress, do some weeding.
Remove any unwanted objects, thoughts, tasks, or people that do not need to take up your precious space at this moment.
Imagine that you are focused, dedicated, and happy because things that were important to you got done and now you have the time to do the thing you love.
Wouldn’t that be worth getting your hands dirty?
Don't forget to get my FREE guide 5 mistakes you make that cost you energy in the morning! Identify the mistakes and bounce out of bed feeling energetic tomorrow morning! Get it HERE.