How to Calm the Restless Mind for Higher Productivity and Performance

How To Calm The Restless Mind for Higher Productivity and Performance

Stress and anxiety take energy – your heart speeds up, you sweat, and your muscles tense. These state might be better if they had the decency to burn more calories, but there really isn’t an upside. The result, or really the cause, is a restless mind which continually thinks and focuses on the issues that are leading to feeling stressed and anxious. Work requires you to be at the top of your game.

Having a restless mind destroys your focus, concentration and can cause many a sleepless nights. A restless mind drains you. Then, when it’s time to sleep, it won’t turn off. Sadly, the more you worry or feel overly-taxed, the more your brain takes over to focus on your problems. It can seem like a never-ending ‘movie you can’t escape from.

But, hope is not lost. If your mind is restless, read on for some tips on how to calm it. It takes practice and determination, but the restless mind can absolutely be made calm. Like most hard paths, it’s worth it; achieving goals is taking a lot longer than before – gone is the 28-day idea. It is now taking 60 days to a year due to overload and breaking old patterns.

But, taking action to quiet a restless mind will lead to more success. You will be able to make informed decisions because you won’t be in survival mode and you will be able to relax more, not to mention sleep better so you can have better performance. Here are five steps you can begin to work on to deal with any stress and anxiety you may be feeling:

Cognitive Distancing
The restless mind is actually trying to protect you. It is warning you of future dangers, but it can get out of control. Realize that your mind is only guessing what might happen. It doesn’t know.
Distance yourself from your anxious thoughts. Step back and think about facts and challenge those thoughts: How likely is it that the thing you fear will happen? What can you do to prevent it? Take a deep breath, step back, and make a fact-based plan. As the mind can run away, challenging these thoughts will make them less threatening so you fee calmer.

Focus on the Moment
Focusing on the moment is a mindfulness practice that teaches you to get out of your head, out of the past, and out of the future. The restless mind indulges in all kind of horror fantasies that are not based on reality or the task at hand.

If you focus on the moment, your mind gains tangible facts and details with which to construct your reactions. Your mind will be unable to lose itself in worry if you are focused on a conversation, delicious meal, or game for instance. So put your mind to work focusing on the moment.

Take Action
There’s nothing worse for a restless mind than sitting around. You can’t just take any action, though. You have to calculate how to make your life better. Being solution-focused takes the focus off the problem and puts you back in control of your situation. Write out some possibilities, try some things out, and evaluate your results – when you see yourself making progress, your mind will calm down.

Don’t Indulge Useless Thoughts points out that “just because a thought is true doesn’t mean that it is helpful to focus on—at least not all the time. If only 1 in 10 people will get the job you seek, for instance, and you keep thinking about those odds, you may become demotivated and not even bother applying.”

Your mind identifies trouble so that you can take action, not so that you convince yourself not to try. There is a myriad of useless thoughts we often indulge. Dose this person like me enough? Am I doing the right job? Will my car break down? These are vague worries that do not help you in life. They weigh you down, so do not indulge them. What you place your focus on is what you will act on so don’t focus on problems; see the possibilities to be more positively focused instead.

Step Back and Think
Re-evaluation is important for progress. If we don’t step back to think every now and then, we keep doing the same things over and over. Insanity, as they say, is doing the same things and expecting different results. So, step back for a minute and think.

When you step back, find a way to measure progress. Feedback is an important step in goal achievement- how do you know if you are making progress? If you’ve got fitness goals, you can weigh yourself and decide if you need a better workout. If you’ve got money goals, evaluate how much you’re spending and what you can do to earn more.

Rating your mood will help you to see if any of your stress management techniques are working; if you start at a 10, for example, and then begin implementing these steps and find yourself at an 5 – or even an 8 or 9 (to start), then you have made progress and should continue on. Evaluate, also, what is working and why so you make these a habit to rely on.

Stress is going to come but having tools and resources will help you face whatever comes your way. The more you do, the more in control you will feel – you got this.

We specialize in leadership development for new and emerging leaders up to seasoned executives so they are effective in their role. Leadership development is an on-going process – we are here to provide the support you need. Call today to get started!

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