A chilled glass of something nice (and the next best thing)
[1 minute self-development] Here's a little quiz. How busy a person are you?
- a) I'm sat with my feet up, with not a care in the world, looking forward to a chilled glass of something nice later on.
- b) I love to relax, but often I simply schedule too much into my day. I wish I had more time, but that's the same as everyone, right?
- c) I'm hard at work. When I'm not working I feel anxious. Even thinking about this quiz makes me guilty as I should be focusing on my work.
If you answered a), then lucky you. Enjoy your chilled glass of something nice. If you answered b) or c), then you're like the vast majority of people I speak to (and me). The truth is, our minds need a little downtime to cope with all the uptime.
Our minds need a little downtime to cope with all the uptime
So here's this week's 1-minute strategy called 'Switch Off' to properly allow your brain to relax. After one minute, you can get back to whatever you were doing, hopefully having benefited from the brief change in perspective.
- Switch everything off. Phone, internet, computer, TV, iPod and anything else.
- For one minute, look out of the window and focus on the clouds - their patterns, formations, colours and movement. If at any point you notice that you’re thinking about something else, start the full minute again. (1 minute)
- Simply notice how this makes you feel. (If you are struggling to concentrate, that's a good sign. It means your brain has become accustomed to focusing on multiple things at once, and so you need this more.)
Why clouds? The idea is to switch off from modern technology and identify with nature's rhythms and cycles. If there's no clouds where you are, (lovely!), focus instead on the blue of the sky - the texture and brightness of the colours you can see.
And then… well then, go back to what you were doing. But remember, when you're too busy to enjoy a chilled glass of something nice, it still only takes a minute to switch off.
ps this week's article is inspired by Tim Kreider's excellent New York Times piece on 'the busy trap'. He says, "Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body."
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