“Imagine your mind as a garden. The magnificent flowers are positive thoughts, and the weeds are negative thoughts.” Have you weeded your garden recently?
In the same way we need to go on offense for our body, we need to go on offense for our mind 24/7 as part of our self-care. When I first started practicing body torture – I mean hot yoga – I was fortunate to have inspiring teachers whose words helped me to overcome both physical and mental challenges. I was in the yoga studio when I first heard the quote above.
Below are 8 seeds for your mind. Water them and watch them grow into flowers:
- Get a good start. Mom was right: making your bed each morning is a small task with a big payoff. In his popular commencement address, Admiral William H. McRaven explains: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Watch the clip for a dose of inspiration.
- Exercise your brain. Read an interesting book, enroll in a free online class, play one of these games, learn a new skill, or challenge your Amazon friend Alexa to a round of True or False. Take up a hobby that you’ve been putting off for years, even if you only spend five minutes per day on it. One of my incredibly talented former coworkers slowly assembles a lego masterpiece in the middle of busy political campaigns. A few minutes each day to focus, learn, and create… Now that is some good self-care for the mind.
- Use your ears. Did you listen to a podcast this week? What did you learn? I recently learned about pigeon-eating catfish in Paris. SHEEEEEEIT, I never saw that growing up on the Mississippi. Two of my favorite podcasts are Akimbo by Seth Godin and the Model Health Show by Shawn Stevenson. To get you started, check out the Model Health Show’s insightful episode about brain hacks for faster learning.
- Declutter your space. After listening to another motivating episode of the Model Health Show, I decided to declutter my desk. I was amazed by how the simple act of decluttering my desk put my mind at ease and allowed me to focus on my work.
- Daydream. Stare out the window and let your mind drift. Watch the trees dance, the squirrels scamper, and the birds twirl. All of this mind-wandering could be a sign that you’re a real smarty. Last week my partner Kate was stuck trying to decode the matrix. She paused, looked outside to let her mind rest, and BAM figured out the solution.
- Unplug. Hide your phone in a desk drawer while you’re working. Make a phone stack during dinner. Take a digital sabbatical. Studies show that people who check their email less often are less stressed. Do you really need to check your email at 7am when your alarm goes off, or can it wait until 9am when you get into the office?
- Calm your brain. You’ve heard and read about meditation; now go try it. Apps like Headspace and Calm are great for getting started. If you need some additional motivation, check out these 7 fascinating facts about meditation. And join me in signing up for a 30-day mindfulness challenge next month!
- Take a break. Stuck on a project? Take a break and get something off your to-do list: mail a package, write a thank-you note, or clean the fridge. Then go back to work feeling awesome that you just got one thing done.
Have a great weekend gardening!