Tranquility, awareness, focus — a strong, sound mind is a powerful tool. One filled with distraction and strife, however, is a breeding ground for a life of hardship.
As a student of aikido, you have already been given many tools to harness the power of your mind. But how do you cope with life’s stressors that lie beyond the mat?
Today, we’re discuss the importance of maintaining a level head throughout all portions of life, and we’ll discuss how you can achieve mental clarity, despite the challenges you face.
The Power of Mental Clarity
A calm mind will allow you to see the world more openly than those plagued by stress. Without a barrage of urgent thoughts filling your mind, you can begin to focus on the things happening around you – birds chirping, sun shining, the wind against your face – and enjoy these moments more freely. You will gain a deeper appreciation for your life and everything in it.
Focus also provides a greater level of control over certain aspects of your day. By eliminating stress, you are able to make better decisions, quickly solve any arising problems and reflect on the ways you can improve upon yourself for the people you care about most.
How to Achieve Mental Clarity
Life is filled with moments that can strain the minds of even the most tranquil people. As a result, we cannot promise these techniques will completely eliminate stress from your life, but they should help you manage it better.
1) Twice-Daily Meditation
By spending 5-10 minutes twice a day on meditation, you have the power to put your mind into a state of serenity.
When you wake up in the morning, take a few moments to sit up straight, close your eyes and focus. Push out any burdens you may have carried with you from the day before. Tell yourself: “Today is a new day. Today, I will be the best version of me I can be.”
In your mind, consider the day ahead. If you have any scheduled appointments or obligations, envision how you will positively engage in these situations. If any unexpected obligations should arise, imagine how you will greet these unforeseen challenges with a level mind.
This period of morning meditation is designed to help you set a positive precedent that will accompany you throughout the rest of your day.
Before you go to bed, take a moment to sit up straight, close your eyes and draw yourself down into your consciousness. Focus on taking deep breaths – four seconds to inhale, and four seconds to exhale. Let your breathing set a slow, even pace for the rhythm of your heart to fall in to.
Now consider the state of your mind. Reflect on your day. Is there anything you did great that you should be proud of? Is there anything you regret; anything you wish you had done differently? Think about how you can improve on your behavior tomorrow.
If you have been holding onto stress throughout any portion of your day, now is the time to let it go; exhale your burdens through your lungs and out of your body.
Exercise is a great way to burn off any stress that has latched on to your body throughout the day. By spending a minimum of 30 minutes each afternoon on a sport or activity, you can effectively sharpen your physical and mental stability. If you are not sure which activities would be beneficial to your health, remember that aikido counts as exercise! Take some time to run through several of the exercises we practice in class. Not only will this make you a better Aikidoka; it will also lower your stress.
3) Take Care of Your Body
As the hours pass by and shards of stress try to chip away at your mental clarity, it is important to remember to give your body the care it needs in order to maintain stability. This means ensuring you eat at least three meals a day, receive adequate sleep and always, always, always remember to breathe.
How do you achieve mental clarity?
Stress is unpredictable. Not only are each of us presented with different stressors throughout the course of a day, our physiological differences also make us respond to stress differently, as well. If you have ever battled with stress in your life, Shin-Gane challenges you to try some of the techniques listed above. After a week has passed, reassess your stress to see if it has improved.
If you have tried any of these techniques before, have they helped you achieve mental clarity? Maybe you have some of your own calming techniques you employ to stay focused? Please feel free to share your thoughts on Shin-Gane’s official Facebook page. Thank you for reading!
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