“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha
Helping you to find sustainable tools to add to your personal ‘health toolbox’ is at the center of my health coaching practice. And, without exception, stress management is the most challenging area of adopting a healthier lifestyle for my clients. This is the third in my Stress Management Tools series – where I share some of these tips and tricks with you.
This particular exercise is a particularly effective little thing you can add to your daily life that makes a difference over time. You won’t even have to find time to do it – you’ll just need to shift your perspective a little…
It’s easy to get stuck in autopilot as we go about our daily lives
In fact, we’re still encouraged to juggle as many balls as possible. Multi-tasking and busy-ness are celebrated in mainstream culture.
I’d even be willing to put down money on the notion that at times you feel like Dr Doolittle’s pushmi-pullyu – When one half of you wants to move forward, the other half wants to move back because of expectations you (and others) have placed on yourself…
Take a Few Minutes to Single Task
Single-tasking means doing one activity at a time with as few distractions and interruptions as possible.
Increasingly, studies are confirming the benefits of focusing on one task. In one study, psychologists found that spending time reflecting on a task leads to better performance and recall on subsequent tasks.
How do you do it?
Choose an everyday task – something like cleaning your teeth or emptying the dishwasher. Focus all of your attention on that task. All of it. 100%
That means, while you are physically completing the task, you’re noticing everything there is to notice about this particular task.
If you are cleaning your teeth, instead of wondering what you are going to wear for the day or what you should take out of the freezer for dinner tonight, consider:
- the smell of your tooth paste
- the feel of the toothbrush on each individual tooth as you clean
- making sure you get right to the back and clean those molars!
- the temperature of the bathroom
- what you look like in the mirror
- where is your tongue?
- How does it feel when you rinse? – be sure to swish all the way around your mouth.
Appreciate what this act of cleaning your teeth is doing for your health… (Digestion begins in the mouth!)
Do all of this slowly and with intent – making yourself aware of this simple, every day process.
If you find your thoughts drifting in another direction, bring them back to the task at hand.
When you have finished, take a breath to center yourself and get on with your day with a sense that you are more grounded and present than you were five minutes ago…
This has got to be one of the easiest and most effective tools to add to your stress management toolbox.
Introducing small, incremental changes over time can have a profound impact on your health.
Do you think you can add Single tasking to your health toolbox?
Here’s the first in the Stress Management Tools series – Legs Up The Wall!
Here’s the second – Notice – Shift – Rewire