[Mind of Your Own] How to take a power nap, without going to sleep

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Why are you writing these articles about the mind? A former colleague called me with that question after seeing the first couple of ‘Mind of Your Own’ posts.

He sounded concerned. “You are a marketer – write on marketing. There are enough people peddling this hocus-pocus. You please don’t start," he cautioned me.

His call made me wonder if other people were thinking the same way, so let me clear this up.

  • I am a marketer, not a monk
  • I understand frenetic, high-pressure lives because I live one myself
  • Anything I publish, I have tried for myself and seen results
  • That’s why I want to share my journey (which is still underway)

With that out of the way, let’s focus on today’s exercise. And focus you must, because, I want to tell you how ‘seeing’ instead of ‘looking’, can be as refreshing as taking a short power nap. And you don’t have to move from your chair to do it.

The grass isn’t green, it’s non-existent

We all know that spending time with nature is beneficial. Even your ophthalmologist will tell you that the best way to refresh your eyes is to look at trees or foliage. Almost all of us have made the resolution to get up for that early morning walk in the park, but then the late-night call or the new episode of Game of Thrones takes over. Given that most of us spend our days in an urban jungle staring at a screen, what’s the solution?

Did you see that? (Probably not)

We navigate familiar terrain as part of our everyday lives, following routines that are deeply etched into our brains. Whether you are driving to work, sitting at your desk or collapsing in front of the TV at the end of the day, you can easily identify the environment and even the individual objects around you. What you need to do is start seeing them.

Follow these steps:

  1. When you are starting to feel tired, focus on any object in front of you. It can be anything other than your computer or your phone screen. The pen on your desk, the note pinned to the partition, the glass of water – any common place object will do.
  2. Really look at the object. Let’s take the pen as an example. Notice the shape of the pen. Is it slim or thick? What colour is the pen? What colour is the cap? Is that a crack on the side? What is the brand name etched into the side? Is the metal catching the light and glinting?
  3. Try and focus on the same object for around 20-30 seconds. Then close your eyes very briefly and look away.
  4. That’s it. Repeat every time you start to tire. It can be a different object every time. If you are lucky enough to have a plant in your office or a tree outside your window, practice with that to feel even more refreshed.

As you incorporate this into your life, you will start to tire less. There is a simple scientific explanation for this. Studies have shown that this and other mindful practices reduce the production of cortisol, the hormone produced when you are stressed. If your cortisol levels are elevated for a long-time, you will feel burned out.

Be sure to let me know how you got on. Have a fabulous week!

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