Do you envy people who can fall right to sleep at night? I do. My wife can lay down and be sound asleep in 5.2 seconds. In 11 years of marriage, I have yet to fall asleep before her. A million thoughts run through my mind whenever I lay down. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a deep thinker and yet I am guilty of living in my thoughts.
So what do you do if you are a day dreamer like me? You intentionally live in the present moment. It is not an easy thing to do. You really have to make yourself do it.
The Joy of Putting Your Mind in Neutral [Podcast]
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Awareness is the first step. You have to be aware of when you find your mind elsewhere. If you are sitting with your family playing monopoly, play monopoly. Stop thinking about work, your email, or what you have to do around the house.
I am also a tenacious goal setter. Always thinking in the future 1, 5, or 10 years. While it is noble to have goals in life, If you are not careful you never take the opportunity to savor the moment. I am guilty of playing with the kids but never really being there 100%. I often think, wouldn’t it be great to have the mind of a child again and be 100% engaged in what you were doing (regardless of how trivial the activity is).
Putting your mind in neutral can be extremely healthy. One exercise I have adopted in the last year is the 24 Hour Rule. Choose a 24 hour period sometime during the week in which you totally unplug. In other words, if you start at 7 pm on Saturday night then you continue until 7 pm on Sunday night. During that 24 hour break you do not think about work at all. Allow your mind to relax and enjoy the relationships in your life. Try this experiment and see if it works for you.
My Personal 24 hour Rule
What I have made habit recently is to unplug on Saturday evening and allow myself to enjoy my family and my church on Sunday. I am even back to falling asleep on Sunday afternoon watching an NFL game. It is a great emotional break for me. Then, on Sunday night I have my weekly review. I take time to look over my up coming week, review my goals, set my schedule, monitor my open loops and get ready to attack the week. I find that hitting my weekly review after being unplugged for 24 hours is especially rewarding. My mind is ready to be engaged.
What activities do you do to put your mind in neutral?