Tuesday, February 09, 2010

No shortcuts with Mindwork, Tending to the Genius Within

Like any lifestyle habit, keeping our minds in good running order is a work in progress. Self-confidence, emotional resilience, happiness and calmness all come and go. They must be renewed daily and moment by moment. If we don’t work at it, our minds deteriorate. We can become mind wrecks as easily as coach potatoes.
Trouble is it takes time to freshen up our minds and time is one resource we never seem to have enough of. Weekend long meditation retreats are not in the cards for most of us. Family and work demands consume us. “Stayin’ alive” is a full time occupation.

Fortunately, there’s lots of advice available to show us how. Check any bookstore. Self-help books abound. Go back to the “golden oldies” in your bookshelf. Similar messages. And, now with neuroscience backing up many of the self-help claims, we’re “good to go”. Except, that a daily routine for our minds is elusive.

Olympic athletes have entire systems of support behind them to be on the cutting edge. Canada’s Olympic Committee, in partnership with the private sector, Sport Canada and the Federal government, has made significant investments in neuro-and bio-feedback equipment to boost athletes’ mind preparation. In addition, athletes have open access to sports psychologists, dietitians, biomechanical experts, exercise physiologists, massage therapists and other experts. Further, a team spirit is encouraged as part of building the “can do” spirit of helping each other to succeed.

How can we do this for ourselves so that we can be “Olympians” in our own pursuits and passions? Certainly we can make more efforts to feed the work place with positive messages and encouragement in which we focus on bringing out more “the geniuses within”. Collectively, that’s powerful. Any obstacle can be dealt with.

It all starts though with each of us tending to our own genius within. That takes works every day. Deliberate work and practice.

If we can become more physically fit with ten minutes here and there or, better still, 30 to 60 minutes daily, then so can we with mind fitness. The techniques are all around us: yoga, meditation, deep breathing, laughing, visualization, inspirational books and speakers, singing, doing good works, viewing family photos…. A silent, calm brain enables us to be mindful. A noisy brain, “mindless”.

The key is to structure mindwork into our days, a routine like many other aspects of our life, which keeps us on an even keel. Here is one way to do it.

In the morning or before going to sleep, do a combination of 30 minutes of mindwork exercises such as:

- 2 minutes of deep breathing

- 10 minutes of inspiration reading & reflecting

- 8 minutes of reviewing goals, aspirations, insights, appreciation for people in your life

- 10 minutes meditating or equivalent, such as yoga

Done more diligently, mindwork wards off the ghosts past and polishes our natural talents. In a noisy world full of the unexpected, this is one sure fire way to live more fitfully in the present.

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