Today I had a particularly challenging 73 minutes at work. The great thing was I got through it well, I had the tools to cope.
Stress works on many different levels. It is great to have a certain level of stress because it keeps is alert and functioning well. At times our stress levels creep up and that is when it can become unhealthy and unhelpful and we need to be aware so that we can check in with ourselves.
I worked well all morning and then I got a call that was sent to check how mindful I was being. It was a complicated matter and it took all of my focus. I was understanding the issues well and keeping on top of everything but there were a few minutes where I let the clock get the better of me.
Now, I am always working on a strict time limit in my job, I am timed to the second on everything I do. That in itself does not get me in a flap, I am used to it, resilient to it. Today though my calm focus was called into question by the clock. When I saw that I had been over my target of 60 minutes the mental chatter started and began to take over! My concentration was hijacked.
Well, although it may seem the most alien concept, given that I was pushed for time, I pushed my chair back and closed my eyes! I really did this.
I spent 30 seconds paying attention to my breath and then I focussed on what I still needed to get done. I ran through a methodical mental list of the tasks left to complete. Then I took a few deep breaths and did it. I did it much faster than I would have done had I ploughed on in a distracted state.
When I had finished I took a 10 minute break to allow my mind to recover.
Dealing with a period of stress in our day in this way means that we prevent it having an impact on our whole day. If we can compartmentalise it we stop the stress and the mental chatter taking over. We remain in control. By taking a short amount of time to refocus we can be so much more effective when we start again. Better to be working on all cylinders for a short amount time than to be half focusing for ages.
So if you find yourself getting in a flap, catch it early, take the momentum out of the lapse and start again. The more you manage to do this the earlier you will spot the signs that a short break is needed. The earlier you catch it the less time it takes to recover and to get back on track.
Once you get the hang of this technique you can use it for almost any situation in life. What ever it is that make you loose your cool give it a try.
Come on a Revitalise Day to learn more mindful tricks to get you performing better.