leadership coaching

Defrag Your Mind

Defragging a computer is something IT and other computer professionals do all the time. The process consists of removing bits of clutter that accumulate over time in the computer’s memory banks that have a cumulative effect of slowing down overall performance. Most computers now come with a defragging program that anyone can use.

Defragging can have other meanings too. I like to use it as a metaphor for the process of clearing one’s mind of clutter. A sort of mental laundry. Doing mental laundry takes less time and it feels good. It is not done with a program, however, but rather through an age-old process called meditation.

There are many kinds of meditation, ranging from Eastern traditions such as Yoga and Centering, to taking a personal time-out to escape to a mental “safe place.” Whatever you call it and for however long you do it, meditation helps you unclutter you mind for a while and start afresh.

Meditation Techniques
There are many ways to meditate. The process doesn’t have to be complicated. Try this:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet place.
  2. Close your eyes. Slowly and comfortably take three deep breaths through your nose to a count of five. Hold your breath for a count of five, and exhale to a slow count of five.
  3. Continue breathing in a slow, deep and relaxed manner.
  4. Starting with the top of your head, think about the area and let it relax. Feel it happen Now, move to your ears, face, neck, shoulders, chest, through your body and on to your toes, briefly stopping at each point and feeling the relaxation. Do this slowly and purposely. Don’t rush it.
  5. Try to think about nothing. Just relax. When intrusive thoughts enter your mind, just let them come and go. Visualize them drifting in and out. You can think about them later if you wish. The object is to completely drain your mind. Visualize your mind clearing its clutter. Imagine a white cloud moving through your mind as it gently defrags.
  6. When you feel yourself tense up, let yourself relax. Give your body and mind permission to rest, to clear, and to do absolutely nothing.

That’s pretty much the way I do it. Sometimes I spend ten minutes in meditation; sometimes I spend more. When I’m through, I feel relaxed and refreshed. My mind is clear and I am ready to go. I do not do this every day, though I probably should. Normally, it’s about three times a week. When I do it, though, my whole perspective changes. I am fully rested, body and mind.

Here’s another technique that is recommended by Mark Divine, Commander, U.S. Navy SEALs (Retired), in his national bestseller, The Way of the SEAL:

Still Water Runs Deep

A quick way to relieve nervousness:

In a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed, get comfortable and close your eyes. Slowly draw a breath through your nose, filling your lungs from the bottom up. As you do so, your diaphragm will press your stomach out. Now exhale, also through your nose, flattening your belly and chest as you do so. Continue for at least four cycles—by then the pattern should feel more comfortable, and you should feel relaxed and at ease.

Meditation for long-term benefit:

Sitting in a chair or against the wall, ensure that your back is straight, your chin is slightly tucked, and you’re comfortable. Now gently close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breathing. Go through five cycles of deep breathing as described above, visualizing your body calming down from head to toes. After this, release into a natural breathing pattern but maintain focus on your breath.

In your mind’s eye, see your self sitting at the bottom of a deep pond. Feel the serenity and silence as you look around and up at the clear, sparkling water of the surface. Any thoughts that arise are mere ripples. After a while, if you choose, you can let this vision dissolve and just focus on your breathing. Now, start counting each breath cycle. If, after two counts, you suddenly realize you’ve been thinking about a big project at work, no worries. Just let it float to the surface and dissolve, then start the count over. Your objective is to get to ten without any conscious thought. This is much more difficult than it sounds! Practice for five minutes at least once a day for thirty days.*

The benefits of meditation are many. Just Google meditation techniques and you’ll see! A major benefit in terms of advancing to higher levels of energy—as described in my blog of June 6th, 2014—is that meditation accelerates the process. It also helps in ridding the mind of catabolic influences that, by definition, are major energy drains. Give it a try.

*Note: The Way of the Seal is published by The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., and is available in bookstores and on-line. For more information go to www.unbeatablemind.com. Excerpts with permission.