In previous posts, I suggested my readers consider meditation as a way to relieve stress. I recommended that they set aside 20 minutes in the morning and evening to go deep within themselves and find a spiritual connection. But what if you need a quick mental break during a busy day and you don’t have 20 minutes to spare? Well there are several things you can do without interrupting others. You can:
Here is another I found particularly helpful and one I use regularly – The Three Minute Mental Break.
Pull away from what you are doing for three minutes. If you are at your desk and working on your computer, hibernate it or put it to sleep. If this is not possible, turn away from the computer and face the other way. If you don't have a desk job but you are busy serving customers on the floor, or working in a manufacturing plant or on a construction site find the three minutes when you take a company break.
Minute One: Sit up straight. Close your eyes. Relax your shoulders. Place your hands on your lap. Take several deep breaths and relax your whole body. Quickly go from head to toe and relax the muscles.
Minute Two: In this relaxed state, free your mind about what you have been working on. Concentrate on your breathing and listen to the breaths coming in and out of your body. Keep relaxed.
Minute Three: Slowly open your eyes. Let your mind take in what is around you. Take three deep breathes and then stretch out your arms, move your head two and fro and in a circular motion. Stretch out your legs or stand up and give yourself a shake. Go onto your next task.
If at the end of the three minutes new ideas or breakthrough thoughts come to you jot them down in a safe place. I have opened an Outlook Contact called Ideas for these fleeting thoughts. From time to time I go to the Ideas Contact and review them. Some I discard, others I set a time to work on them – as an example this post came from one of my three minute breaks. A few notes went onto my Ideas Contact, and now I have turned it into a post to share with others.
The Three Minute Mental Break is actually an introduction to meditation. Minute two brings you into a type of mindful rest and begins to rejuvenate your positive self. Studies on brain wave activity now show that just one minute of meditation has many of the benefits as a prolonged meditation, such as reduced anxiety and stress as well as improved productivity. When I present the concept of The Three Minute Mental Break to busy people I always get a positive response like: “This I can do.”
Tip: Set your Smart phone alarm for three minutes. If you are seeking other ways to improve productivity using Microsoft Outlook, consider this program by Priority Management.
Author: Richard P. Fontanie MSw FCMC, Updated from the Archives of Fontanie Learning Solutions