I am always amazed at how easily I can create a sense of total panic or despair while sitting in a room with no immediate danger anywhere. This is the power of the mind. It can create stories that make use feel confident and joyful while taking us to the depths of despair only minutes later. Once you become familiar with how the mind runs amuck , it becomes easier to avoid running down the rabbit hole of panic.
So let’s dive into your work mind…
Maybe you are losing it because you are OVER this job. So your mind starts:
I need to find better work.
Why am I still in this crappy place.
I should have made better career choices…
Or, perhaps you like your work but there is too much to do, in too little time, with too many people to try to impress. So your mind shifts into a panicked drill sergeant:
I need to focus.
People think my presentation was too simplistic.
I’ll never get all this done.
No one values me here.
The problem is not that your mind is acting like an asshole. The problem is that you believe it—so your stress increases, your focus and productivity decreases, and your overall wellbeing suffers.
One of the easiest ways to get some space from this mind madness is to ground yourself.
Let me get real for a moment—for years I had no idea how to actually do this. I thought grounding myself meant I had to sit barefoot in nature and become one with the earth. Thus, I ignored any discussion around getting grounded. Turns out I was missing out.
Grounding yourself is about reminding your mind that you are sitting in a room and that you are safe. It is a way of taking yourself OUT of your mind and into the reality of what is happening around you.
Here are two quick effective ways to do it:
1. CONNECT BACK TO YOUR BODY.
Take your hands and rub them together and notice how it feels. Yep. It’s that easy. I know this sounds like a crock of crazy, but trust me. The reason mindfulness is a game changer for people’s lives is because it teaches them how to get the crazy mind to chill the f@#$ out. Just focus on the feeling of your hands for about 60 seconds. Remember that you are a person with a body and you don’t exist only in your future mind catastrophes.
2. FOCUS ON THE SPACE YOU ARE IN.
This one is my favorite. Mind-spinning is similar to daydreaming only with a way less appealing storyline. You need to snap out of the daydream/nightmare.
Slowly scan the room and start to describe what you are seeing in your mind. “The walls are white, there are big beautiful trees outside the window with green leaves in full bloom…” Keep it slow. If you hit something that looks exceptionally interesting or appealing really stare at it and notice everything about it. Do this slow process for at least 60 seconds.
Both of these practices shift the mind out of a space where it thinks danger is looming. Your shifted attention to your hands and the room lets your mind and body know I am safe, I am here, and there is no immediate threat.
This isn’t just about feeling momentary bliss. This is about training yourself to calm your work mind so that you can focus, problem solve, connect with people and have an overall better experience at work. Contrary to what you might think—a stressful or harsh mind is not the best way to a fulfilling career.
Now go get your hand feels on, and scan your space like inspector gadget! You won’t regret it.