TAKING MINDFUL RESTORATIVE BREAKS
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln
Resting, learning and taking life in is how we sharpen our ax in life! When we sleep our brain regenerates brain cells and repairs our body. Getting more done doesn’t mean working “harder” for longer hours. Research finds working in ninety minute spurts of time produces the optimum results.
Our concentration is at its best for the first 30 minutes, after approximately one hour it drops to almost 60%. For this reason, to maintain optimum productivity, schedule breaks in between your work. Working harder and longer without breaks actually creates less productivity not more and working without having a work-life balance can lead to what’s commonly referred to as career or entrepreneur burnout and harmful levels of stress.
In this lesson we are going to review a variety of forms of breaks that help increase productivity, health and happiness in life. A break could be as simple as standing up from the desk and stretching while taking several deep breaths. It could be a brief break in our focus or attention by looking across the room and focusing at something in the distance for a short time.
A restorative break could include closing your eyes (not while driving of course) and breathing deeply and mindfully focusing our attention on every breath to the count of ten. Or it could be a twenty-minute power nap.
You could take time to reach out to a friend by telephone or in person and commit yourself to be a mindful listener attempting to fully hear and understand the person’s word and let them understand that you hear them. Do not seek to teach them or correct them or share with them any of what you’re working on in life but for this rest exercise be fully present with this person and seek to understand as much as you can or just be there in the moment present and available. This is a restorative process and it strengthens our relationships with others!
You could take ten minutes to hand write a thank you card to tell a friend, coworker, client or loved one what you appreciate about them and why you’re grateful to them. This incorporates another one of the key Life Mastery principals for health, happiness and peak performance, which is making the decision to focus on and practice experiencing gratitude.
Conscious resting or break taking helps the brain to relax and repair what needs repairing, and to build new pathways that help you learn better. Start now. Breathe in and out deeply and slowly while placing your attention on each breath and holding your inhale for a few counts then exhaling slowly. You can do this just about anywhere and any time! If you are in a long line somewhere instead of gazing at your phone and social media timeline get present in this timeline of life and breath!
Every day go out in the world and take a walk and to re-energize for ten to thirty minutes. While walking practice being mindful placing your attention with each step, and again keeping your phone in your pocket so you can be present in life and experience the incredible beauty all around and inside you! If someone smiles return that and feel the human connection of caring and politeness that exists in that moment between you. Mindfulness is a break from the stressful work of being engulfed in the reactive mind that bounces off of one worry to the next.
The main thing is to practice peace and relaxation. Don’t hyper-focus and get lost in your thought or actions intending to do more but instead stay fresh and present in life and do well. In the course of the lessons we share we are sharing tools for helping you learn to stay mindful and as such able to be resilient in the face of stressful events. Some of these tools are mental techniques like meditation and visualization and others are physical tools like a journal or Back To The Breath bracelet that acts as a talisman/reminder. These are only available here at 4Answers.net!
Here are a few ways to break well:
- Do deep breathing.
- Meditate for ten minutes a day.
- Call a friend and connect in a positive mindful way.
- Doodle. Yes drawing is relaxing and creatively frees one’s thinking.
- Walk around a bit. Do it mindfully.
- Ask someone you work with or know how you can be of service to them.
- Take fifteen or twenty minute nap.
Choose your focus and you will have the opportunity to choose your life. Focused breaks are an important aspect of reminding yourself that when you are mindful you have the choice to live a healthy balanced life. This will increase your mental, physical and emotional health and you’ll find your much more productive as a result.