Improving your mental energy: Self-reflect, meditate, shut down disrupters
When you are mentally exhausted and your mind is cluttered, you might feel restless, wandering with your thoughts instead of staying focused in the present moment.
In this context, it’s good to recall the lesson with the teacup from the Eastern teachings. As this famous Zen koan goes, there was a Japanese Zen master named Nan-in who lived during the Meiji era (1868-1912). During his days as a teacher, he was visited by a university professor curious about Zen.
Being polite, Nan-in served the professor a cup of tea. As he poured, the professor’s cup became full, but Nan-in kept on pouring. As the professor watched the cup overflow, he could no longer contain himself and said, “it is overfull. No more will go in!”
Nan-in turned to the professor and said, “Like the cup, you are too full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
Allowing yourself to “empty the cup,” will clearly benefit your mental energy. How?
- Start with self-reflection and ask yourself: What is the quality of your mind at work? What are you thinking of when you go about your daily list of things-to-do? Is your mind working to the best of its abilities? You would be surprised to know that scientific research suggests people are substantially less happy when their minds are wandering than when they are not. In fact, 47% of the time, people are thinking about something else than what they are doing in the present moment. (Be aware of this fact when you enter the car).
- Mindful Breathing and Body Scan encompass two mindfulness meditation practices which you can try out to boost your mental energy.
- Shut down disruptors. Studies suggest that some of us, astonishing enough, spend over 11 hours every day interacting with media. In effect, your smartphone is now the new limb of your body (and kudos if it isn’t). In order to stop being so hooked on the screen, try to dedicate time blocks of your day for handling online activities. Delete apps that continually batter your mind with unnecessary notifications and information. A life of more tranquility and happiness is always a better idea than a life of more notifications.
There is not a simple answer to this – it’s more in the life philosophy. All my life I try to follow this quote from Richard Bach: “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” What I always try to remember for everything that happens in my life is that all the hard times and hard decisions are making you tougher. It’s just a test of how much you can handle. But whatever will happen in my life I will have the power to overcome it. – Klemen from DOBA
5 More Good Reads We Recommend here at Quintaum:
Why Mind Wandering Can Be So Miserable, According to Happiness Experts
Mental Energy and Physiological Energy – Energizing goals energizes the body too
The Culture Cure: how prescription art is lifting people out of depression
How To Increase Mental Energy
5 Powerful Exercises for Your Mental Strength