[ clarity break ]
I’ve learned quite a bit over the past year and maybe one of the most important things is the value of a [ clarity break ], which I was reminded of just last Tuesday, the 17th.
I had arrived at work wicked early, 7:15 am to be exact, to knock out some detailed work before everyone started arriving. You see I work in a busy, mid-sized dermatology practice where my makeshift desk is in the middle of a hallway. Not the most conducive location to be writing content, editing the website or for concentration of any kind, really. (NOTE: This is no secret, it’s been discussed with my managers and unfortunately there’s no other place for me to go in the office. I work remote one full day a week and during peak patient times, I try to do my best staying focused and in the zone!) I thought I’d found the answer in arriving long before my coworks, but this was far from what happened. You know those times when everyone needs to talk to you about something? People who don’t ask you questions, have questions. The printer and phone start going off simultaneously, and the noise level seems so astoundingly loud that even your headphones and the podcast coming through can’t dull it out? Yea. It was one of those mornings.
Inside, I could feel it. The annoyance – the frustration – it was starting to bubble like a pot of water on the stove. Previously when I was only trying to think positively all the time, I would insist on sticking it out and trying to think of one positive thought after another and wait for the bad feelings to magically disappear from my conscious. Let’s be serious here, positive thinking is WONDERFUL! It really can work miracles for a mental shift and I’m always a fan of trying to see the positive in situations, but realistically a few simple positive thoughts don’t always do the trick. Sometimes you need to physically remove yourself from the environment to get that mind shift. You need a break. A quick and simple clarity break.
And that is exactly what I did. I recognized I was on the crazy train so I promptly put on my jacket, grabbed my keys and headed for the parking lot.
Sitting in frustration, allowing the annoyances inside to fester and grow wouldn’t have done me or my work any good.
I ran down the street to a coffee shop, placed my order and while my drink was being made, took advantage of those few minutes to get back to my center. I returned to my work station feeling a little lighter and ready to get back to my day. The noise, traffic and every day occurrences were still there, however I had simply shifted my mental state to where they just didn’t seem to bother me as much. And that is the beauty of a clarity break.
Now I know not everyone has a flexible work schedule that allows leaving to happen, and believe me it hasn’t always been the case for me, but here’s a few other places I’ve escaped too for a clarity break: the patient privacy room, electrical closet, staff bathroom, gone for a walk outside my office, heck I’ve even sat in my car in the parking lot for 8 minutes! The key is what happens during this break:
- Each time I take a clarity break, I breathe deeply, in and out of the nose, whispering the word “let” on the inhale and “go” on the exhale in my mind. I’ll do this for no less than 3 concentrated breaths and usually I stop at 5 (unless it’s a really cray cray moment I’m escaping!).
- After my concentrated breathing, I’ll start shifting my mind to something that makes me feel like I’m smiling from inside. For me, it’s images of the ocean, my goddaughter Bean, or something that’s on my vision board, but it can really be anything in the world depending on who you are. The key is that it’s got to make your heart smile, not just your lips. Something you’re truly truly grateful for and connected to.
- Hold this image for a few moments until there’s nothing left but that feeling from inside, take a few more deep breaths and then open your eyes.
Mental.shift.like.woah. You can do this in as few as 3 or 4 minutes and sometimes that’s all it takes to stop the spiraling crazy train dead in it’s tracks. It’s so simple, yet so effective. How had I not discovered this 4 years ago?! (oh wait – I was a totally different person 4 years ago…. 😉 )
Moral of the story: Clarity breaks help keep the circus in check. Know what I’m saying, boo?
Until next time, xxo