Relax Your Mind!

Has anybody ever been overwhelmed out there?

Have you ever felt like you always have so much to do and never enough time to get it done?  Have you ever had so many ideas that you didn’t know which one to go with?  Do you carry guilt from making too many commitments and failing to fulfill them because you put too much on your plate?

First of all, if you’ve felt this way, don’t feel alone.  At some point I’ve been able to answer ‘yes’ to all of those questions.  Matter of fact, right now I can answer ‘yes’ to almost all of them.

Secondly, I believe that I know at least part of what the underlying problem is that causes us to become overwhelmed and overextended.  It isn’t because we’re bad people who are lazy and/or intentionally lying and misleading folks.  It’s because we’re mentally clogged.

TOO.  MUCH.  INFORMATION.

We receive tons and tons of information into our brains every single day.  Think about all of the electronic devices we use, for example:

Radios, TVs, PCs (work and home), tablet computers, cell phones, mp3 players…

When we use computers, we have the answers to seemingly all of life’s questions through Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines.  We can befriend and have conversations with almost anyone in the world via Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.  We can cook foods from any region in the world thanks to recipe sites and Pinterest.

Granted, some of this is very good.  Many of us have access to opportunities that we would perhaps be oblivious to if not for the internet and mobile devices.  However, I am convinced that we have to impose limits on ourselves when it comes to using all of this information access.  If we don’t, we will suffer mentally (and physically) for it.

Have you ever downloaded a particularly large file, where the download window pops up showing the remaining download time, and the time is increasing instead of decreasing?  I imagine that if we were able to hook computer monitors to our brains, we might see those same download windows.  Because we’re constantly taking in information, we never give ourselves time to finish the download process.

Great minds learn to relax and detach

According to an article written by Dr. Paul Halpern, physics professor at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Albert Einstein preferred to stay far away from phones, which in his day were only land lines.  He had no phone in his home, so visitors had to either just come by, or they had to write letters in advance of their visit.  Imagine that.

Einstein, one of the greatest minds of the past century, believed that his creativity was at its best when he was able to spend much time in solitude and quiet reflection.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Could it be that by staying connected 24-7, we are stifling our own creativity?  Are we unable to be our full selves because we spend so much time using other people’s products, reading about other people’s experiences, and hearing other people’s opinions?

A Christian thought

As a Christian, I am guilty of sometimes putting search engines in God’s place.

What I mean is, I may ask God about something in prayer, but I also ask “Jeeves” or Google.  Now, I don’t intend at all to imply that it’s evil to use search engines…gosh, no.  I’m grateful for them.  That’s how I learned to start this blog, to create a business, and to moonwalk ;).

However, how do we as Christians expect to know and hear the voice of God when we pull out our phones for the answers instead of waiting for Him?

First the mind, then the body

As a trainer and one who blogs on health/fitness matters, physical health is something I obviously talk about and deal with a lot.  However, I believe that if we intend to become healthy in our bodies, we have to be healthy in our minds first.

Our minds are the control centers of our bodies; our bodies go wherever our minds tell them to go.  This means that if our minds are in the wrong place, our bodies will likely be as well.  We can be so full of information from the net about how to lose weight that instead of knowing exactly how to lose weight, we don’t have the slightest idea of how to really do it.  On top of that, because not everything on the internet is credible, we might totally misunderstand how to be healthy and consequentially end up hurting ourselves from doing something that a random ‘Joe’ told us to do.

Practical steps for brain relaxation

We have to relax our minds, guys.  We have to be intentional about it, too.  If we want to keep our word, to stop being overwhelmingly busy, to eliminate the confusion that comes from having too many options, to hear from God, and to have healthy physical bodies, we have to learn to relax.  Here are some very practical steps to consider:

  • Turn it off and put it up.  Cell phones, TVs, tablets, mp3 players, etc.  We have to learn to be able to be disconnected sometimes.  Unless you’re in perhaps your teens or very early 20s, you most likely remember a time when much of this stuff didn’t even exist.  We lived without a lot of it then, so we can live without a lot of it sometimes in today’s world.
  • Practice intentional solitude.  Take a walk or a run without taking the headphones with you.  Ride in your car with your radio off.  Find somewhere to sit and just be a vegetable.  In other words, learn to not have to distract yourself.
  • Practice intentional creativity.  Invest in a journal or a drawing pad.  Carry a voice recorder with you for any songs that come to mind.  Blow the dust off of your instrument, or learn a new instrument.
  • Figure out how YOU will reach your goals.  For example, when trying to lose weight, we tend to spend far too much time searching the internet to see what others did, and far too little time finding out what actually works for us.  Yes, it’s fine to get tips from others, but instead of saturating yourself with all of that extra information, find your own way.  Listen to your body.  Blaze your own trail.  Use the knowledge you already have in your brain instead of seeking more through electronic means.

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