3 Powerful Tools to Calm Your Mind and Help You Stay Focused

Dr Z wants me to have these items on hand for a procedure.  Okay, now he’s changing his mind. Let me see if Central Supply can bring this stuff up now.  Wait.   I promised Ms. Jones in 411 I’d bring her a Popsicle.  Oh, yeah, I need to call Dr. Handout back to evaluate Mr. Hustle pain medicine orders.  He’s been steady on the call light.  Geez, what am I going to cook tonight for dinner?  Will that damn lab ever call me back with the test results for room 411?  What did nurse Re’tard say about me?  I think she called me a heffa.  She’s messing with the wrong person today because I am PMSing!  Please Pharmacy, send me the right medicine this time.  Oh Lord, not him again!  I done told that man I am not his nurse.  Let me see what he wants now.  He’s better stop blowing up my phone and deal with that child like a real man.  I should have got my mother-in-law to look after both of them.  The manager is calling a meeting at 0900 A.M.  She should know that’s our busiest time in the morning.   Maybe she did purchase that nursing license in China after all…  Lord, it’s that damn doctor on the phone again.  Why can’t he come see his patient and quit bugging?  Really.  If he calls me with one more order and then change it…  Sweet Je-Sus!  This computer is down again!  (the Unit Secretary calls)  “I know.  Please tell Mr. Hustle, I’ll be there in a minute!”

Does the above self dialogue sounds a bit familiar to you?  A good nurse oftentimes is pulled in many directions.  What do you do when everybody think their issue is the top priority?

Sometimes the mind conversation mentioned above continues even after leaving work. Okay, maybe you are the exceptional nurse whom the Christian Science Church calls “A Clear,” or a Yogi who has reached enlightenment.  For the rest of us, it would do us some good to explore some of the techniques below that has helped many quiet the mind in order to be more effective at anything attempted, including being a good runner.

Be MAD is a process to help you calm the mind and access your greatest potential to become more focused, centered, and productive.  This acronym transcribes into simple exercises which could help you steady that annoying chimpanzee in the mind, boosting your potential to be more effective and reducing the amount of stress a good nurse may be subjected to on a daily basis.

Let’s see if we could explain these concepts without getting too psycho-logic, psychotic, psycho-dramatic, or philosophical on you.  They are not necessarily in this order, so you may assign your own priority.

M Stands for Mindfulness.

Mindfulness could be defined as being fully and consciously aware,  paying attention to the  present moment with body, mind and spirit.  By being mindful, you jump off the ‘automatic pilot’ plane.  It’s like paying attention to how you got to a destination rather than mindlessly getting there and not having any clue how you did.

“The art of conscious living” or “Paying attention ‘on purpose’ in a particular way” is what Jon Kabat-Zinn, a world authority on developing the practice of mindfulness for the management of clinical problems, calls it.  Practicing mindfulness helps you experience your truest state of Being.  It encompasses non-judgement, acceptance, and experiencing what IS…directly, in that moment.

This practice is best developed through meditation (and this doesn’t mean blanking out), but you can develop mindfulness by being aware of simple things such as while eating your food or drinking tea.  If you are a tea drinker try to engage all of your senses in experiencing the tea and not chasing thoughts about the past or those on the future.  Lightly notice the taste, smell, temperature, how the tea makes you feel without judgement, fuss, or even arguments in your mind (pure madness).

Focus 0n the tea and try to enjoy and wrap yourself in the moment every time you put lips to cut to take a sip.  This is pouring your entire being in each sip.  It simply gets your mind out of the past and away from the future helping you stay calm and focused on the richness of the experience.

The Buddhist Monk, Thick Nhat Hahn popularized the practice of “walking meditation.”  As Christians, we gleaned from  Judaism just about everything we could, but one can also appreciate this walking meditation exercises from a beautiful bald-headed Buddhist monk. Walking meditation is simply being mindful of each step you decide to take in a moment on a regular basis.  It transcribes into a “walking prayer” only that you ain’t begging, mumbling, and fulling up the ears of the good Lord upstairs with endless requests.

You are just putting your whole attention into each step as you take them and as you initiate another.  Period.  It puts the mind in a focused-on-taking-a step mode.  That’s all. You wont believe how it can nip-in-the-butt any scattered dialogue steadily going through a good nurse mind on a regular day in a hospital setting. I leaned and practiced this meditation exercise when I worked as a charge nurse in a local Birmingham, Alabama hospital.  It made a huge difference in my life.

These simple awareness exercise could help train your mind to be calmer, boost your productive by a large margin, slow down the aging process, help prevent many chronic diseases, and make your day a better day.  It could help you feel more energized when you race to clock out, leaving you with a bit more juice for that evening run afterwards.

A Stands for Awareness.

Awareness Is simply being cognizant of our perceptions, thoughts, and experiences in a moment.  If you feel you are in a daze, practicing awareness will help bring your mind back to what you are doing.  It is being a non-judgmental witness to what is going on both externally and internally and not living unconsciously, reacting every moment to people, situations, and things.

Start by being aware of your surrounding.  During a walk, notice how beautiful the sky, trees, and flowers are as you walk by them.  When in company of others,  be aware of  their full presence each moment without judgment, being biases, or feeling critical.  Become a grateful observer or ‘watcher’ (this does not mean nosy) and truly enjoy the moment given.  This practice helps develop your center of awareness which is in the brain. You become present in every moment spent alone or in the presence of others.  It takes the focus off the past and off the future and places it on the richer experience of being in ‘the now.’

Noticing the sensation in your fingers as you touch a person is practicing awareness.   Paying attention to something particular about a person like their dimpled chin or their beaming smile is practicing awareness.

Being aware of your own feelings and watching your reactions for example, being cognizant of your ups and down and how these emotions make you feel, is practicing awareness.  If you feel someone said or did something that made you feel bad, practicing awareness will help you come to a knowing that no one or no situation, really, can make you feel negative or toxic unless you decide to let them/it.

You make the choice on how you want to feel.  This is a hard thing for some to swallow, but it’s true.  It’s your own perception and translation of a situation that makes you feel bad or negative, not the action of another person or things.  Being aware of your own choice helps put the power to change your situation into your hands.  You need some time to brew on this?

Awareness gives you the tool to dismantle and handle any toxic emotion which may come your way from someone else or even  from your self.   It allows one to become an alchemist.  If ever you are feeling sorry for yourself, sad, fearful, angry, depressed or down, pay attention to how these impermanent and sometimes very fleeting emotions make you feel.  Now consciously convert them to more pleasant, optimistic, positive, and nurturing feelings.  Know that you can switch those feeling and make yourself feel good whenever you become aware of how you are feeling in that moment.

Practicing awareness is simple as that, but it take a bit of day-to-day or moment-by-moment effort.  The ancients say that when you’ve learned to control your own emotions, you are ready to cause miracles to happen.  The first miracle will be the one happening inside of you.  Doesn’t this make you want to dance?

Becoming aware on how you are reacting to situations when people don’t treat you well or when things do not go your way, empowers you to make healthy positive choices, changing your internal environment to reflect a more positive and healing state.

D  stands for Discipline

Discipline can be viewed as a code of behavior or rules you set to accomplish a particular goal.  Discipline makes any practice more perfect.

An African proverb says, “The discipline of a lioness comes from having a sense of purpose.”  What is the purpose of what you are trying to do?  What motivates you?  What are your intention?  When you’ve answered these questions, you are more likely to stay discipline to your cause.

Here is how to practice discipline.  Decide what you want to accomplish and why.  Set your goals.  Start with the tiny ones and apply yourself, slapping a big dose of STICK-TO-IT-NESS to the process.  When you’ve accomplished one, keep steady and tackle the next hurdle.  For instance, if you want to explore the art of running to be more fit, start with having a goal in sight.  First, you have to learn how to run a good minute or a good block without passing out and bothering a nurse  in a neighborhood hospital who might be looking forward to her break.  Soon you may be ready to run your first 5K (3.1 miles) race.  In achieving this goal, you may set out to do a 10K (6.2 miles) race, after which you feel you cannot live without running and set a decent and seriously big goal of running a half marathon (13.1 miles) and so fort.

If you feel yourself slipping in the discipline arena, join a running group in your area for peer support.  If you are uninspired to do something, practicing discipline could be like a long hike up Mount Everest in the Himalayas bordering Nepal and China.  So, be inspired to do something you love and use discipline as a fuel for your beautiful wild ride.

OYE!  Practicing MAD could help you stay focused, be productive, and accomplish your goals.  It is a tool that could help you stay younger, a benefit of stabilizing the wild chimpanzee in your mind painting everything gray.  You will not only appear cooler to people, but you will be equipped with good tools to help you excel better with life’s challenges than the average individual.  Being MAD is a daily walk and intimate communion with yourself which could benefit all.