Last month I introduced the idea of ‘becoming unbusy’. It wasn’t just the idea of being less busy doing, but also the idea of unbusying our minds. Now more than ever, we probably have the time to examine what this really looks like. For those of you (us!) that are stress junkies, this may be just another day, but I would venture to guess that the extra demands of shelter-in-place / stay-at-home / social distancing orders are adding to the tipping point.
“We’ve all heard not to sweat the small stuff, but I respectfully disagree. It’s the small stuff that actually leads to the energy, inspiration, and motivation it takes to accomplish great things.” – Scott Halford, Author of Activate Your Brain
The neuroscience of unbusying our minds is to decrease the cortisol levels in our bodies. Cortisol is our built-in alarm system and is our body’s main stress hormone. It works with certain parts of our brain to regulate mood, motivation, and fear. Psychology Today reports that prolonged stress and high cortisol levels interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function, increased weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease, and trigger mental illness and decreased resilience – especially in adolescence.
We all get the same 86,400 seconds each day, what we choose to do with them is what sets people apart. We all face a daily bombardment of distractions that challenge us to activate our focused, human brain or respond out of our reactive, reptilian brain.
So what is your response to the small stuff? Could you use a ‘spa day’ for your brain and mind? Well, and for your body, too, but we’re talking about our brains right now 😉
Here are 3 ways to quiet the mind and stop the internal monologue:
- UNPLUG. Stop the input. Literally unplug from devices, screens, and the news for a decent period of time DAILY.
- DOWNLOAD. Clear the clutter. Do something mindless to decompress. Declutter an area of your home, your car, go for walk/run, watch TV, read a book, take a nap, do yardwork, just be a blob for a defined amount of time (so you don’t find yourself binge watching Netflix until 2am!).
- ACTIVATE. Get in your focused, human brain. This is where you choose to do the work to improve your emotional intelligence. Start small. Do what works for you. Create something, write something, do something that sparks a new curiosity about yourself or revisit a hobby that brings you joy. The idea is to activate your brain with a quieter mind and ignite intrinsic motivation toward purpose and intention.
Many of us need a little kick in the butt… consider this your kick! Send me a message or reply below if you try this and want some accountability. I would love to hear from you!
Downloading = clearing my mind clutter on a solo cross-country ski.– Claudine