How to overcome anxiety at work
Do you want to be happy? Do you want to feel at peace with yourself and the world? Of course, you do. Finding fulfillment is the ultimate human goal – the thing that all our actions try to move us toward, whether we know it or not.
In today’s busy world, it can seem impossible to get a quiet minute – but you must prioritize it. Learning how to clear your mind decreases stress, improves your concentration and is vital to your mental health.
Wondering how to clear your mind ? The first step is to unplug. You won’t be able to focus if you have text messages or email notifications setting your phone off. And if you’re constantly scrolling through social media, you’re seeing a lot of information that can clutter up your thoughts – and even be bad for you . Taking some time to consider your thoughts can make it easier to let them go. Go for a walk or a hike for an added benefit, as connecting with nature has tons of benefits, including reduced stress.
Going for a walk is a time-tested technique for a clear mind . But if you want to be consistently relaxed and content, you need to make lasting changes to your brain. Aerobic exercise is the way to do it. Studies suggest that exercise is associated with control over your thoughts – the prefrontal cortex, which controls thinking, is larger in people who exercise. Exercise can also help you sleep, so it’s an essential step if you’re wondering how to clear your mind to help with insomnia.
3. Write about it
Sometimes a clear mind is hiding behind an experience or emotion that needs to come out. Writing is a common therapy for easing stress and trauma. It organizes your thoughts and naturally leads to solutions. Coming up with actionable goals is key to progress – and as Tony says, “Progress equals happiness.” Don’t know what’s bothering you? Just put your pen to paper and see what comes out. Expressing yourself on paper can help you break free from worry and anxiety by giving meaning to your experiences.
4. Discover the power of pause
We’ve talked about how to clear your mind with activities. But what about simply practicing mindfulness? Implementing a brief 2 – 3 minute moment of silence and focused breathing into your day can drastically clear your mind and increase your overall productivity . It’s easy – you can do it anywhere, anytime:
While breathing, make sure you concentrate on your airflow and express gratitude for each breath. Acknowledge and appreciate your body. This is similar to meditation – it clears the mind and gives you a moment to reflect. This moment of pause allows you to work through your thoughts and eases any tension in your body, which relieves stress and contributes to your mental and physical well-being.
We often tell ourselves we don’t have time to pause, but this exercise will make you more productive and more creative in the long run. Just 2–3 minutes a day can improve your effective reasoning, cognitive thinking and ability to form new ideas. So take a minute. Slow down. Be grateful. It can instantly clear your mind.
5. Practice priming
Tony Robbins’ priming exercise takes the power of pause to the next level. While the first five steps are similar in nature, the next steps in the priming exercise allow you to transfer that clear mind into your everyday life.
- Visualize : Whether in business, health or with family or other relationships, priming pushes you to clear your mind and visualize the life you desire . Be as creative or simple as you like, but don’t limit your mind. Through visualization, nothing is impossible for you to obtain.
- Share: Take your positive energy to your workplace and loved ones. Share with them how you cleared your mind and help others find clarity.
- Focus and celebrate: Your vision is achievable. Focus your energy on what you visualize and celebrate your work as if it’s already done. Start your day victorious and ready to conquer all that you set out to do.
- Conquer the day: The day is yours! It’s your chance to take massive action and move in the direction of your goals and dreams. With priming, you have cultivated a state from which you are ready to conquer your day, regardless of the challenges that may arise.
5 Neuroscience Based Ways to Clear Your Mind
As an ultra-endurance athlete, I’ve competed in the Badwater Ultramarathon a few times. Some call Badwater the “world’s toughest footrace” because it’s a 135-mile non-stop run from the bottom of Death Valley to Mt. Whitney—in the middle of July, when temperatures can reach 130 degrees.
The physical discomfort of running five marathons back-to-back through Death Valley in the middle of July requires more psychological finesse than it does aerobic endurance. Succeeding in sports is always going to rely on mastering your mindset and explanatory styles. As Yogi Berra said, “Baseball is 90 percent mental; the other half is physical.”
One of the most important skills I’ve learned as an ultra-endurance athlete is how to clear my mind of unwanted thoughts. When your feet are covered in blisters, the pavement is hot enough to fry an egg, and you still have three marathons to run, you learn quickly how to pull any tricks from your psychological toolbox that will help you reach the finish line.
When every alarm in your body and brain is sounding a red alert telling you to stop, how does someone push through and keep on going? When it comes to clearing your mind of unwanted thoughts, taking a multi-pronged approach that gives the situation what it needs has always worked for me in sports, and I think it will work for you, too, in sport and in life.
For this post, I’ve compiled a top-five list of mental tricks I learned as an athlete to clear my mind of pain, negative thinking, anxiety, rumination, and self-sabotage. I’ve paired the lessons I learned through life experience with the latest neuroscientific evidence. I also included some images that capture the essence of each point, as a picture really is worth a thousand words.
American editor and publisher Elbert Hubbard once said, “Life without absorbing occupation is hell—joy consists in forgetting life.” Neuroscientists at Brown University recently confirmed that the key to “optimal inattention” lies in occupying your mind with something else through distraction.
The mind can only really think of one thing at a time. When you concentrate your attention on one thing, you inevitably engage in the parallel act of purposefully ignoring other things. In a 2015 study, “Attention Drives Synchronization of Alpha and Beta Rhythms between Right Inferior Frontal and Primary Sensory Neocortex,” published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the researchers at Brown were able to identify how the brain achieves “optimal inattention” by changing the synchronization of brainwaves between different brain regions. The researchers hope that by harnessing the “power to ignore,” people with chronic pain will have new cognitive tools for reducing their pain.
For this study, participants were told that they would feel a brief tap on the left middle finger or the left big toe. In some cases, they were then told to report only stimuli felt on the foot and to disregard what they might feel on their hand. In other cases, they were told to attend to or report sensations only in the hand and to ignore those in the foot.
The researchers found significant patterns of synchrony between various regions which showed that the mind could direct attention to either the hand or the foot, but not both at the same time.
If you ever find yourself obsessing or ruminating about a thought, remember that distraction is a highly effective way to shift the synchronization of your brainwaves and gives you the “power to ignore” on demand.
The Brown study’s co-senior author, Catherine Kerr, is an assistant professor of family medicine in the Alpert Medical School. Her team has also found that people can learn how to manipulate their alpha rhythms in the somatosensory cortex as they switch their attentional focus through mindfulness training.
The results of their latest research expand our understanding of how mindfulness might possibly operate using the mechanism of redirecting attention via control of alpha rhythms in the brain, which can help people ignore depressive thoughts. In a press release, she said:
This is part of a really cool effort . to see if you can take pretty high-level cognitive questions, find the relevant areas in the brain, and then figure out how to put that in a context with the underlying neurophysiology, at the level of computational models and animal models. We’re linking different ways of looking at the brain that don’t usually come into dialogue with one another.