How to be aware of and master your mental states

mental state

If you’re tired or feeling down, there’s a good chance you’re not physically sick. But, every chance you are neglecting some meaningful part of your life and your mind can no longer stand it.

Our mental states will usually affect whether we exercise, socialise, eat well, educate our minds (or not), drink alcohol, have low moods, are happy, irritable or open-hearted with the people that matter to us most.

So, for obvious reasons, it’s really important to monitor mental states. It’s an incredibly powerful skill to determine the mental state you need (or don’t need) for any given moment.

The power of mastering your mental state is limitless.

However, what if you have neglected part of your inner self and now you have to deal with a bad mental state when you’re really busy at work?

You need to overcome your mental state and fast.

Well, here’s how.

How to change from a bad mental state to a good

Firstly, you have to want to do it.

You have to show commitment.

Leo Babauta from Zen Habits suggests the following practice to initiate the change from one mental state to the other.

1. Recognise that your mental state needs to change (recognition) 

For example, if you’re tired or frazzled and you need to focus on work.

2. Make it happen, despite the mental state (acceptance) 

Here you carry on with your task, regardless of your mental state.

If you’re truly committed to your task then a bad mental state certainly won’t impact you.

If you’re tired. That’s ok. Just make sure you take extra care so no mistakes are made.

If you’re frustrated simply be kind to yourself and others. You shouldn’t ever show your signs of frustration – and if you act with kindness – this would never happen.

Show generosity to whatever mental state you find yourself in and give it the extra attention it needs.

3. Take actions that contribute to a better mental state (action)

We all agree that if you’re not in a good mental state (i.e tired, distracted, anxious etc) this is a negative place to be. Therefore, the answer is clear, inject some positivity into your life and that will instantly help to lift your mood.

For example, some common actions that help you move into a better mental state:

  • Meditation
  • Walking
  • Exercise
  • Talk to someone (if you’re worried about something).
  • Have a cup of tea (or your favourite soft drink).
  • Getting into a quiet, clean and uncluttered environment.
  • Disconnect yourself your computer, phone and/or tablet.
  • Playing calm (or your favourite) music.
  • Read your favourite (or current) book
  • Do something fun

There are many other possibilities, of course, but you get the idea.

This practice allows you to carry on with any task, regardless of your mood.

It’s a simple process of recognition, acceptance and action and it makes the world of difference when trying to push through negative feelings.

For more information on this topic read the very helpful blog by Leo Babauta for Zen Habits, here.

10 health benefits of daily yoga

yoga

Practising Yoga is said to come with many benefits for both mental and physical health but there are so many more reasons why Yoga is a great addition to your life.

Your mind is one of the most important assets and properly looking after it, will help you to get through those tough curve balls in life. Saying that to be super efficient at facing life’s many challenges you need both mental and physical strength

There are many benefits I can list but first I am going to talk about the main benefits which are scientifically proven.

Stress

Yoga is known for its ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Multiple studies have demonstrated that yoga decreases the secretion of cortisol the dominant stress hormone and after a three-month program woman had significantly reduced stress, anxiety and have had improved quality of life and mental health.

Improves heart health

The American heart association has shown that heart attacks, high blood pressure, and diabetes are increasingly more frequent in young people notably women. A review of different studies made in the European journal of preventive cardiology said that yoga can help as much as a traditional workout the even show that who practised lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol. Is just about movement.

Mental health

Yoga allows you to be “in your body”, it helps you connect with yourself.  Many poses can have a mood-boosting effect like camel pose, pigeon pose and legs up which literally open your heart and help you find.new perspectives.

Improves the quality of life

Yoga is turning into an adjunct therapy to improve quality of life for many people. Studies have shown how yoga can help to prevent nausea, vomiting, mood swings and fatigue. It also diminishes anxiety and depression with cancer patients.

Flexibility and balance

Many people have overcome injuries by increasing their range of motion with yoga. But flexibility not only helps with injuries but with joint pain. With a few weeks of practice, you’ll start to notice pain to go away. Tight hips can strain the knee joints due to improper alignment. Inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue can cause poor posture and back pains.

Your head is a big, round, heavy ball and when it aligns directly to an erect spine, it takes less work for your neck and back to support it.

Yoga also regularly increases proprioception [ ability to feel what your body is doing]. People with dysfunctional movement patterns usually have low proprioception. Better balance could mean fewer falls and less body pain.

Let just look at one more benefit, this one is not scientific but is as valid as the rest.

Awareness for transformation: Self-awareness makes easier to break free of destructive emotions like anger. Yoga appears to reduce anger by increasing feelings of compassion and interconnection and by calming the nervous system and the mind.

Just believing you will get better can make you better. Some might call it placebo effect and say it doesn’t count but the mind is the most powerful tool you can have.

So, if you haven’t yet tried yoga, what are you waiting for?

How to beat fatigue

boredom

Sometimes, we can live the healthiest of lifestyles (or so we believe!) and yet we are still plagued by fatigue.

Fatigue is one step further than tiredness. It’s defined as extreme tiredness. It’s the type of exhaustion that can cloud your judgement, make you fall asleep on the train and typically make every task feel like a total drain.

On the positive side – there are some very simple lifestyle tweaks that can be made to rid yourself of fatigue, for good.

Many of the items on this list, may seem to easy to be true but they are proven time and time again to be the underlying cause of extreme tiredness.

1. Eliminate sugar and processed or packaged foods.

Eat a candy bar and your energy will usually plummet soon after. Sugar and other refined carbohydrates give you a little shot of energy, but at a huge expense. In reality, we are eating sugar to feel the euphoria for around 5 minutes max (usually less) in return for feeling drained for hours afterwards. If you find it too hard to eliminate sugar, try swapping it for fruits, like berries or apples. And if you need something heavier, swap biscuits or cakes for nuts like almonds or peanuts. If you feel a bit lost on which types of foods have added sugars or refined carbs try to keep away from anything in a package, food closest to its natural state i.e a jacket potato before it becomes a chip or a bowl of porridge before its a flapjack – is what you should be aiming for.

2. Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol.

Sometimes, eliminating caffeine is incredibly difficult especially if you are somewhat dependant on it now. But, what will feel like suffering for the first two days you cut it out will turn into a lifetime of happiness. Coffee much like sugar gives you energy for the first hour but then leaves you feeling totally zapped afterwards.  Alcohol does the same too. It may calm your nerves for a short time, but will certainly leave you feeling drained or mentally foggy a few hours later.

3. Get 7 – 9 hours of sleep nightly.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Some questions you can ask yourself to see if you are not sleeping enough include: Does it take me a long time to fall asleep? Do I wake up often or am I restless? Do I feel sleepy when driving? Do I need caffeine to get through the day? Answer, “yes,” to any of these indicates you may not be getting enough quality sleep. Whilst sleep is another topic in itself if you do think you are not getting the quality sleep you need – its time to take action because a good nights sleep can dramatically improve your quality of life.

4. Exercise.

Spending hours at the gym isn’t doing your chronic fatigue levels any good – remember overexercising can be a culprit of chronic fatigue syndrome. The most effective way to exercise and increase your energy is through the high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These short, intense “bursts” give you a full workout in little time. Or if you find HITT too much try 30 minutes max of cardio combined with max 15 minutes of light bodyweight exercises, these can range from abs to squats. One thing is for sure – with the right amount of exercise you can significantly increase your energy levels.

5. Find ways to relax and reset your mind.

For some people, taking 20 minutes during the afternoon to meditate can be enough to recharge. Maybe yoga or deep breathing is your thing. Whatever you do, you must find time to relax and reset your mind.

For me, the best thing to clear my mind is a walk in nature – nature can be just alongside trees. This is a great way for me to start feeling the small release, I need, to get on with my day.

Chronic fatigue can impair your health and happiness, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. While it may take some time, and some small or large lifestyle changes, you can get your energy back and reclaim your health and wellbeing if you are dedicated to doing so.

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