Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mental Energy and Focus

How to Maximize and Harness Them

Mental energy is essential for productivity in daily life, and is even more vital when juggling more and more daily tasks and challenges. Maintaining your mental energy at a healthy level often requires some self maintenance and focus. Here are some tips to help you do this and enjoy the process.

1. Take time to think for a few minutes each day. Just let thoughts pass through your mind. Analyze how they make you feel. Check negative thoughts against objective reality. One of two things will result. Either the thought is based on an untruth and you can freely reject it. Or the thought is reflecting a challenge and you can then take steps to solve it.

2. Keep a daily log for ideas, notions, important random thoughts, and sudden inspirations. This is as simple as keeping a small notebook in your pocket, or a ready supply of paper with you. Recording a memo on your cell works great, too. Getting in this habit will inspire you to keep moving and doing, and will increase the number of productive thoughts that you have on a daily basis. 

Over the long term your ideas and inspirations will increase in quality, and you will be a regular idea machine.

3. Make sure that you are sleeping well and getting enough of it. Your body will tell you when you have either had enough sleep, or not, and you can always tell when you have not. This is important enough to dedicate a trip to your doctor if necessary. A lack of sleep reduces quality of thoughts and makes overall functioning very difficult. If you find yourself lying awake worrying about things, make a to-do list before you go to bed. This will provide you with a course of action that will give you peace of mind.

4. Exercise and proper diet are significant factors in establishing and maintaining a healthy level of mental energy. Exercise produces endorphins, which relax us and also stimulate creativity and fun centers in the brain. A proper diet maintains healthy blood sugar levels and provides nutrients that increase physical energy and keep us mentally alert. There are many free resources for proper diet and exercise all over the internet. Use them if you are unsure of how to establish correct diet and exercise routines.

5. A fun way to help keep track of positive or negative thoughts is with a penny jar. Keep a running tally of thoughts as the day goes by. At the end of the day, just before bed, count positive thoughts and negative thoughts. Place pennies in a dish, one for each positive thought. At the end of the week count how many pennies you have. If you have fewer pennies than your tally of negative thoughts, you know you need to readjust your thinking. The next week try to increase the number of pennies. Keep this up until you notice a positive change in your overall mood.

6. If you are not being as productive on a daily basis as you would like create a strict to do list. It's helpful to have a partner who will help you keep focused. If you do not, then some self-discipline is needed. Deny yourself something you enjoy and treat yourself with it when your tasks are done. This is a fun and easy way to stay on track. Another option is to ask a friend to call you and inquire about your progress. Give them some free reign to prod you if needed.
7. Celebrate your task completions. Remember that rewarding yourself for successes is every bit as important as completing them. Reward and punishment still work even on adults, and rewards are much more fun.

Simple strategies combined with conscious effort can skyrocket your mental energy and keep you on track with daily action and goal achievement. If you're not getting where you want to go analyze the reasons and take steps to change the situation. Odds are that it is your mental state that's getting in your way.

Thanks for reading! I'm Dave Cleinman. Our mental state is impacted by numerous influences all the time. Taking control of it requires conscious effort and dedication. While this process is challenging, it can also be great fun and highly exhilarating. For information on how to learn more about the process and for valuable life-changing information, visit my blog Steps to Success and sign up for my newsletter, Step by Step.

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