Have you ever wished for a more Zen brain? Is your brain constantly thinking about what you should be doing next or what you haven’t done? Do you find yourself making a mental list only to forget it later in the day? The good news is that there are strategies for quieting your mind, which I learned from a very smart guy named Alan Brown (ADHD coach and author).
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”Marcus Aurelius
Sometimes, we feel as though we don’t have a choice with the thoughts that occur in our minds, but it turns out we actually do. Here’s the science. Negative thoughts lead to negative emotions. Negative emotions produce stress hormones, reducing your brain’s oxygen intake and negatively affecting your ability to find creative solutions. If you shift to positive thoughts, your brain will produce serotonin and help you move away from negative emotions. You will also enjoy better decision-making ability, increased creativity, and increased awareness in any situation.
Alan’s Tips for a Zen Brain (and My Comments)
Re-frame time: We always say we don’t have time, but you would be surprised what you can accomplish in only one brief minute. Try timing yourself doing a few tasks and see how long it takes instead of assuming you don’t have time.
Understand the now: “There is no pending problem right now, this very minute. Otherwise, you would be taking care of it right now,” says Alan. We all have a lot of things to do, and sometimes, we become paralyzed because we can’t decide what to do. Pick the one thing that, if not already a problem, will cause a problem in the future if you delay acting on it.
Quiet your mind: Practice quieting your mind for only two minutes by perhaps looking out the window and thinking nothing. Think of your mind like a muscle; a short rest helps it work better.
Recharge during everyday activities: When doing something enjoyable, stay present in that activity. Most of us are usually doing at least two things simultaneously. Next time you turn on your favourite piece of music, stop and listen to it and do nothing else. When you’re exercising, stay present and focus on the movement. (Yoga is a great way to learn this technique).
Look at pleasing images: This one should be easy. If you have a piece of artwork in your home or office that you like, stop and enjoy it for a minute. If you think kittens or puppies are adorable, spend a few minutes looking at pictures. I enjoy my Get Pets page on Pinterest every once in a while. You will improve your brain function and maybe even live longer.
Say “will do” instead of “have to “: Instead of saying to yourself, “I have to do this thing,” say “I will do this thing now”. You will fuel a more positive emotional state and complete the task quickly.
Do what you’re doing: Research shows you cannot accomplish more by multitasking. Stick with what you are doing now and label everything else as “not what you’re doing now.” It’s tempting to do things that interest you instead of the most important tasks. To compensate, reward yourself by doing the exciting stuff after the important tasks.
When you have a moment, let me know if you’ve tried any of these tips for tuning in to your Zen Brain and if they worked.