Prime The Pump
Prime The Pump
When we think about warming up, we usually are talking about preparing the body to workout (See article: Avoiding Injury) This is especially important as we get older and are naturally more susceptible to injuries.
But what about warming up the mind?
Our mindset is so critical in how we handle decisions, challenging situations, etc. With today’s added pressures for many adults whose work has been disrupted, home way of life altered (any parents with school kids at home knows what I’m talking about), etc. – being in the optimal state of mind, moment to moment, throughout the day is critical to optimize outcomes.
But just as if you walked into a weight room cold and started lifting heavy with no warmup – and thus risked getting injured – so too does diving into important decisions and managing situations without preparing the mind, pose risks of emotional injury and worse. Ten to fifteen minutes of proper warm up can mean a more productive workout, but more importantly give you the ability to workout consistently rather than constantly being unable to train due to nagging (and preventable) injuries. Those few minutes represent some of the best return on time investment around.
The same applies – even more so – to the mind. So, what does ‘warming’ up the mind look like, and when should this be done? There are two ideal times to prepare the mind for the day. One is the night before, just prior to sleep. Simply take a few minutes to picture the day ahead – being positive, being confident, being calm, being productive. If you have particular events (e.g. an important meeting) and/or things you are working on (e.g. being calmer and more patient with your kids), then visualize that as well. There is a reason why top performers in various fields from sports to music picture themselves (AKA visualize) before performances/competitions. There is a well known connection between the neuro pathways of the mind to the body. The whole process can take less than five minutes. If your excuse is that you don’t have enough time, then shut down the Netflix or other non-productive activities a few minutes earlier and dedicate this small amount of time to preparing your brain to perform at its best the following day.
Similarly, if your attitude is that you don’t have enough time to prepare your mind for the day when you first wake in the morning, just rise a few minutes earlier. You won’t miss the five minutes of sleep, but the investment of that time to visualize a great day can be priceless. Check out this article on setting forth a morning routine (The Morning Routine ) which will give you some good ideas on how to best warm up the mind for the day. Bottom line, rather than dashing out of your bed like it is on fire, your brain and body already in a state of stress before you’ve even made it to the kitchen, spend a few minutes in bed – or on the floor by your bed – taking deep, calming breaths, and picturing exactly how you would like the day to unfold. You’ll be surprised how much more effective – and calm/happy – you’ll feel throughout the day just from these few minutes of brain warm up.