The Value of Taking Five

When I feel overwhelmed in a situation, the worst thing I can do is keep pushing myself into it.  Instead, I need to break the hyperfocus and calm my mind. Five minutes of breathing and meditation does wonders for the anxiety that comes up when I’ve simply taken in more information than I can process.

My instinct when this happens is to hold all the information in my mind and attempt to sift through it immediately. This is my ADD brain’s fear that if I don’t do it now, I’ll forget something crucial. In truth, though, if I do it now, I’m likely to miss something amid the mental noise.

A better approach is to:

– Write down key points (just enough to jog my memory later – I don’t need to make a formal memo)
– Bookmark where I am, be it online, in a conversation, or in an actual book
– Take 5, close my eyes, breathe in and out, and focus on my inner chaos being lifted like clouds clearing from the sky.

After such a break, I come back to the situation refreshed and with newfound clarity – without having agonized over it a bit.

Contrary to its instinctive belief, my conscious mind doesn’t have to hold onto everything at once; if I give it a break and take the next right steps to capture “everything,” my subconscious begins to sort it all out.

I can trust my erratic brain more than I think.

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