This week’s blog is two parts:
The first part is this week’s blog (below). At the end of the blog, enjoy part 2 and find out what moves and lifts your SEALFIT coaches and staff have fallen in LOVE with and why!
SEALFIT BLOG: The Crucial First Step To Mental Control and Defeating Information Overload
When you spend time during your evening ritual at the end of the day, trying to get a sense of how productive you were, how is it rating for you? And how do you feel at this time of day?
If you’re like many in the jet stream of the digital age, you might notice sensations of mental burnout. After a day of trying to keep a handle on email and texting traffic, along with any social media or internet surfing that you do, you might have one word for the state of your brain:
If so, there’s a set of biological reasons for this. Interesting research emerging from the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, is illuminating the entire problem. In experiments, using an array of biosensors, probes and real-time data gathering from the subjects, researchers are assembling a picture of how modern-day media consumption is frying us (on average, Americans are consuming an alarming 12 hours of media content per day).
It’s probably not much of a surprise, but all of the computer and smartphone time that we tend to be logging affects the human body and brain in a range of ways, from mood to stress levels to that smoked sensation of burnout.
Here’s an example of what’s going on: the Irvine research suggests that when a person is working on completing a task, a single interruption—let’s say it’s a text or an email—throws the individual off-track for an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds.
In other words, you’re in the zone, working on a project and, Ding! in comes a text from a friend asking what your plans are for the weekend and if you want to meet up to go surfing. Your attention is not only diverted, but you also have been tasked with making some choices. Do you want to make a plan? Do you want to see the friend? Do you want to surf? Do you want to change the plans you already have? Do you want to reply now or reply later?
Each of these questions requires some thought, comparison and decision making, micro-tasks that each burn a bit of the decision-making psychic fuel that exists in the hippocampus part of the brain. It’s not an inexhaustible resource—“decision fatigue” is the term that you hear a lot about these days in regards to willpower and the finite daily supply of energy you wake up within the hippocampus.
So the single ding of single text squeezes away some of this energy. And more of this precious energy is required to get you to circle you back to the work project at hand—all draining more of your psychological resources. Multiply this episode by however many times you are distracted during your work day, and not only are you left feeling mentally burned out by the evening, your productivity and drive have not been anywhere near the 20X level you aspire to achieve and sustain.
Are you a news junky of any sort? In the age of the fully wired and app’ed up smartphone, it is not a good time to be a news junky. Information overload (aka “infobesity”!) is ridiculously easy if you constantly check out favorite news sites and feeds. Research being conducted at the College of London demonstrate how little value we get if we spend a significant time scrolling through the news on any given day: Studies suggest that we’re lucky if half of the information we are taking in is of any use or meaning. Yet this activity is also part of what’s smoking our brains.
As I examine in my book, Unbeatable Mind, the first step toward establishing mental control crucial to achieving your goals and dreams in life is to tame what Buddhists call the “monkey mind.” You are going to continue to spin your wheels unless you do the work necessary to tame this feisty fiend. Practices such as the Tibetan 5, Qi Gong, Warrior Yoga, Breath Control, Still Water Runs Deep Visualization, Body Scan and Mindful Meditation are the tools I advise choosing from to begin quieting the mind.
Additionally, it’s important to align your technological devices with this pursuit. When you’re working on a project, for example, make it a routine habit of turning off the email. Set your phone on the airplane setting, and consider installing a program like “Self Control” onto your computer so that you can block websites that you consistently find yourself scrolling through like some do when they mindlessly open up the refrigerator.
I can’t underscore enough how important these techniques are: The undisciplined nature of the money mind will wreak havoc on all of your aspirations. If you have tried to do this in the past and have failed, let that go. Now is the only time that matters!
Mindful is a good keyword here. In addition to whatever external steps you take, and whatever meditation or breathing rituals you insert into your day to begin the slow-build of a highly disciplined mind, take up the practice of being mindful. If you are prone to slouching on the sofa at night and consuming more media from your phone, quietly stop yourself, take a deep breath, and change the focus to something more positive and productive.
So for the coming week, invest yourself in taking on the monkey mind with a visualization or meditation exercise. Next week I’ll talk about the next phase of the Unbeatable Mind process of claiming the solid ground of mental control: Connecting with your witness…
And next, read below to find out what moves and lifts you SEALFIT coaches (including myself) and staff have fallen in LOVE with and why!
Moves and Lifts our SEALFIT Coaches LOVE
Coach Lance (Director of Training):
“Slam balls to 100 or 150 is a great overall functional workout and it’s over fast. The last 50 is all mental. Try to beat your best time, no stopping. Start with 20, work up to 40 lbs. Hooyah!”
Geoff (Senior Video Producer):
“I’d say my favorite physical training movement is rowing. Not only does my height help, the coaching I have received for this move has made it possible to be very efficient, with a low amount of pulls per minute. I also feel like I can visualize myself on the Charles River in Boston whenever I row.”
Coach Derek (Coach and Events):
“The 6 count Burpee
Why? Anyone, anywhere and totally independent of equipment can perform it. It is a total body dynamic movement that incorporates physical challenge as well and mental attention to detail (number count).
The burpee can be modified into as many variations as you can dare to imagine!
Tire jump burpee
Burpee pull ups
I LOVE BURPEES!”
Coach Will (Coach and Social Media Manager):
“Power cleans. Full body awesome explosive workout.”
Coach Mel (Coach and Content Manager)
“I know Lance will hate me for this response, but I love doing Butterfly Pullups. There is something about the flow of movement and the perfect timing that makes me feel graceful, strong, and agile during this movement.”
Coach John (Coach and Training Facility Manager):
“Lunge: lunge every day, in any variation and you will find out why.”
Coach Catherine (Head Yoga Instructor):
“My favorite move is warrior 3 pose because I feel balanced and strong, my favorite lift is the snatch, it is a beautiful dance of strength, grace, and flexibility.”
Coach Tommy (Coach):
“My favorite lift is the snatch. It’s an incredible feeling when all the pieces come together just right to complete such a complex movement.”
Coach Danielle (Coach and Nutrition Expert):
“I think I’m going with Split jerk! Powerful, aggressive, must be performed with flow and technique. Really, I just love the feeling of my body pushing through a full ground to overhead movement with heavy weights.”
Coach Dave love’s heavy thrusters. Coach Dave has a sub 3:00 Fran time! (Coach and Events Manager)
“Commander Divine Always loves getting in a good bench press session. That must have something to do with his uncanny ability to perform hour long planks!”
Hooyah & Here’s the love of training! Mark Divine