As a society, we spend so much time worrying about our physical health, but if our mental health isn’t balanced, it can affect everything in our lives. We need to find some techniques to ease our minds, reduce our stress, and recharge. One of the ways to do this is to have some moments when we can focus on activities we enjoy and find contentment with a mental sweet spot.
In Christine Carter’s article, Three Tricks to Help Find Your Sweet Spot, she describes the mental state like this, “Athletes call this mental state being in “The Zone”; psychologists call it “flow” or peak experience, and they have linked it to leading a life of happiness and purpose. Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher who authored the Tao Te Ching, called it “doing without doing” or “trying without trying.”
I think of this mental state as our “sweet spot,” where we have both great strength and great ease; it’s the mental state when our best work emerges without strain or anxiety. Instead of making our most powerful effort, we get to experience our own effortless power.”
Have you ever been so focused that you don’t even realize you are performing an activity? It is what the author above describes as being in the zone. It happens to me when I run. I can focus so completely on moving through my run that I have had people tell me they passed me in a car and waved at me and I did not respond. I tell them I didn’t see them because I was in my head, but I’m not sure they understand. I can also be in the zone when I am reading. I can become so lost in the story that I don’t hear anything else until my daughter calls my name the second time.
You can follow a few steps to find your sweet spot.
· Get rid of distractions. If you are working at your desk, put away your phone, turn off e-mails, and remove anything else that will disrupt your concentration.
· Avoid interruptions. Block off your calendar, put the phone away, put a do not disturb sign on your door, and generally let people know you need some time to concentrate.
· Turn on some good music. Athletes know the power of music to motivate, focus, and block out distractions. When we went to karate competitions, we put our headphones in and didn’t have conversations with other competitors. Our sensei said, “Until the competition is over, the other competitors are not your friends. Do not let them be a distraction.”
· Breathe deeply. Practicing deep breathing can calm you and help you focus.
Pay attention to how you feel doing different activities. When are you happy and productive, or achieving a goal at the same time, and you feel like it all flows? That is your sweet spot.