How to quiet your wandering mind
Have you ever had your mind wander from one thing to another? Have you had a hard time concentrating because your mind is “all over the place”? When this happens it can be tough to keep focused and get things done.
In this blog post I want to offer some strategies for overcoming wandering mind syndrome!
There are two parts to this post, as you will see below:
Reducing Inner Distractions
Sleep more. If you sleep enough you will not get distracted as much, you will be more alert, and your thoughts will not turn to how tired, edgy and annoyed you are. Normally 7 to 8 hours is enough, but it depends on the person
Eat properly and exercise. If you are overweight your unfit body will also lead to an unfit mind. I always aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each at a very minimum. How do I fit this in? I go for a walk at lunch and try to walk home after work some of the way. Also remember to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. Cut out the fast food and fried food. It’s just not good for you.
Watch your posture. It has been shown that your posture will affect how you feel so make sure you sit up straight! Yeah they told you that in school but it’s true! Sit better, don’t slump and you will feel more alert.
Be comfortable. When you sit well you feel better. If you’re uncomfortable your mind will wander. However this not only applies to your physiology but also to room temperature, the chair you are sitting on and the general environment of where you are..
Breathe. The deeper and better you breathe the more oxygen will go to your brain. This helps you focus and concentrate more. That’s why so many meditation sessions start off with breathing exercises.
Now that we have looked at reducing the internal distractions let’s look at reducing the outer distractions.
Reducing the Outer Distractions
Reduce your time online. I bet you will believe when I say that studies have shown that checking email is one of the biggest distractions that can eat away at our time. Along the same lines would be checking Facebook or other social media. Make a point of only checking your email a few times a day, or if you can’t do that reduce it to once an hour. Emails can wait and so can facebook!
Reduce the amount of time you watch TV. Like the online time wasting, TV can help you waste many precious hours as you channel surf from one channel to the next. Allocate yourself an hour a day for TV and stick to that.
Switch off your phone. When you have to complete a task or do something important, turn off your phone so you are not distracted by text message, viber messages, or whatsapp messages. If it’s important people will contact you by another means or will leave a voice mail.
Tell people to leave you alone! Ok sounds rude but what I mean is let people know when you have something that has to be completed, or something urgent to do and ask them not to disturb you for X number of hours. This is particularly important if you work from home.
Clear away clutter. Have a clutter free environment, this helps you focus more and be less distracted. Work on what needs to be done now and don’t be distracted by the next project which you have to start tomorrow.
Ok so far so good but what happens if there are distractions that you can’t control? In this next section I discuss this!
How to work with distractions
Focus back on the task at hand. The fact is distractions will happen, be aware of them and monitor your state so that you can bring your mind back to focus on what you are doing.
Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t worry if you defocus for a few minutes. Be thankful that you have become aware of it and then just refocus. Feeling guilty for getting sidetracked will not help you.
Relax. There may be external distractions such as noise outside or repairs going on. There’s no point in getting stressed over this. If you can’t focus during this noise do something that does not require so much concentration.
Is there something bugging you? If you have something on your mind that is nagging you this will keep you distracted. If it is bugging you and distracting you so much you may need to deal with this issue in order to help you focus. Don’t overlook those distracting thoughts – deal with them.
Life is full of distractions; however you can find ways to limit these distractions or to prevent them altogether. Learn to recognize them and deal with them accordingly and you will find you become more focused.