Monday, November 5, 2018

Training our Minds

We go to the gym to train our bodies. We sign up for CrossFit or do Yoga at the gym. Regular practice keeps our bodies in tip top shape. But what do we do for our minds?

In this information age our attention is bombarded with more signals and information than ever. It's only going to increase. We are mentally strained when we come home from work. Then we go on Facebook, or watch TV, or do a million other things on the internet, each soaking up another drop of our attention.

I'd argue in the future, that training our minds will be just as important as training our bodies. It won't be uncommon for people to sign up for mental "gyms" as it isn't uncommon for people to sign up for gym membership.

What are some of the things we can do to train our mind?

The first step is to disconnect. Anything that gives us a break from the information stream. That means turning off our devices and making sure we silence those buzzes and beeps. It might mean getting away from the noise, like going on a hike in nature or just staying home and sitting in silence. Mediation has become a big one. So many well accomplished people have attributed their success to their daily meditation habits.

Then there's training our thoughts. This means thinking about the things that we want to be thinking about. It might be practicing affirmations, reflection on past events, reviewing your goals and commitments. Maybe stoicism appeals to you and you practice worst case scenarios so that you are prepared for anything. Practicing gratitude, being grateful for what we do have vs what we do not, is a great way to stay positive and happy.

There are many ways we can train our bodies and it is similar for the mind. Choose whatever appeals to you, just know that it is just as important. If you looked at your body and saw some unappealing curves or if you lacked energy, you would probably go to the gym. The same should be true for the mind. If you feel a lack of energy (there is a lot of synergy between mind and body) or you feel overwhelmed, or you see yourself unable to focus and easily distracted, then join a local "mental gym" near you!

*shameless plug: I am the creator of CustomJournal which is an Android journal that allows you to tailor your mental workout. You can use it for gratitude, goal planning, review, and more.