Thursday, June 6, 2019

Solve for Energy, not Time (part 2)

Photo by Simon Wilkes on Unsplash
Expounding on my last article, where I talked about optimising for being at my best energy, and some things I do to manage physical aspects of this, this one focuses on some tangible strategies to work on mental energy (but keep in mind - these two aren't fully separate and there are bound to be positive spillover effects, including regular renewal).

Mental

Mindfulness: Inspired by the growing body of research, literature, and people who speak about their experiences, I’ve made it a goal to practice mindfulness (or another form of meditation) every single day this year. I may have missed a day or two in between, but I’m pretty proud of myself so far! Right now, I’m on a streak of almost 60 consecutive days.

Do I see value in this? Yes! Among other things, this has significantly helped my ability to focus, be present, work (and play!) efficiently, and get better at recognising and processing emotions. A part of this involves building a gratitude practice, and that's also helped me get better at understanding that happiness can be in the here and now and doesn't need to be on the other side of some imaginary finish line.

Writing: There's something incredibly therapeutic, cathartic even, about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard?) and just WRITING. Whether this means blog posts, or other pieces designed with one audience member in mind (me), I've found that this helps me to process and get very real about my experiences, what affects me in the present, as well as what I'm carrying from the past and anticipating about the future.

Reading: One of the greatest fears of my life is that one day, I may be faced with the same amount of knowledge and wisdom that's available to me today - but I won't be able to take it in. Reading, for me, is a way of exploring worlds and ideas beyond myself, of learning, of ensuring that my mind doesn't stagnate.

Understanding psychology is something I'm personally passionate about, and it's amazing how much you can learn about human psychology from reading fiction (then again - maybe not. These books were written by humans, after all).

Recommended reading

Following on from the above, some of the reading I've been doing over the past year has been incredibly helpful in allowing me to delve into and practice these topics further. Some recommendations:

Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker

Daring Greatly, Brene Brown

The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

The Things You Can Only See When You Slow Down, Haemin Sunim

When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress, Gabor Maté

The Science of Meditation, Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson

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