Wednesday, April 24

Ways to Train Your Brain During Work from Home

The ongoing pandemic has ushered in a work from home culture, that has left many both happy and side. What began with attempts of spending more time with family soon spiraled out into a situation where our work-life balance was severely disrupted. It seems until there is a vaccine available worldwide, this new lifestyle is here to stay. Many might find this new, chaotic way of life to be extremely stressful. While meditation can help with anxiety control and help to relax your brain, it is difficult to meditate when so much is going on around us!

Training Brain for Relaxation and Focus

Hormones and Their Role in Anxiety Control

To keep your mind sharp and fresh during this period, it is essential you engage in activities that bring joy. This includes taking out time for your hobbies. There are many ways to train your brain to stay happy. This is mostly a function of its hormones. Let’s take a look at the various hormones and how they can be effectively managed. 

  • Progesterone: If you’re anxious and suffer from mood swings, then this hormone could be the one to blame. Eating unhealthy food and engaging in a sedentary lifestyle can boost progesterone. The more you stress, the more progesterone is produced until it turns into a vicious cycle.
  • Serotonin: This is responsible for keeping your mood high and happy. Serotonin is boosted by engaging in exercise. Even fifteen minutes of exercise per day can have a positive effect on the amount of serotonin produced.
  • Estrogen: This is another hormone that prevents mood swings. An increase in estrogen can result in higher anxiety levels. One of the tips to control anxiety is to break every task into smaller parts. Every time you achieve a small task, reward yourself!
  • Dopamine: This is also known as the pleasure-seeking hormone. Hence, it can be boosted by simply taking joy in the work that you do.  Engaging in hobbies and meditation at home can help boost dopamine levels.

Train Your Brain – 5 Effective Ways to Relax Your Brain

A mind is a great tool, but a bad master. It is up to us to keep it focused, sharp and engaged. Just like physical exercise helps keep our muscles and tendons fit, meditation helps to keep our mind fit. 

For those just beginning out, meditation might seem like a difficult task. After all, who can manage to still their mind? But the aim is not to succeed, but to keep trying until you do. Moreover, meditation does not only include sitting in a static pose, but there are several other forms of meditation as well. This includes calligraphy, aromatherapy and breathing exercises. Here are some ways in which you can try to train your brain at home using these tips.

Understanding Hormones' Role in Anxiety

Create the Right Environment

Be it your work time, chill time or social time, creating the right environment is paramount for every activity. Create a space where you can engage in a singular activity at a time. If your bedroom is a workspace, then make sure you sleep in another bedroom. This will help your mind subconsciously create a barrier between the spaces and “switch off” when you go from one place to another. 

If you use the living room as a time to socialize with your friends and family, then label the bedroom as a private sanctuary. Do not let socialization events creep in there. Answer calls in the living room and reserve private space for self-improvement tasks like reading and meditation. That way you will have a small mindful cave to return to whenever you feel overwhelmed. This also extends to your online environment. Set a time for yourself when you will not engage in any social media, attend calls or reply to people. This can be set up as a “do not disturb” time. Self-reflection is a great way to manage stress and keep your mind fresher and sharper for tomorrow’s tasks. 

Meditation At Home

Different types of meditative journeys are suitable for different people. Meditation is no longer what it used to be. Today, it combines various activities including painting and cooking – all of these can be meditative.

  • Breathing

For beginners, mindful breathing is a great way to get started on the meditative journey. This is a simple method in which you can sit cross-legged on the floor or on a mat, in a  comfortable position. Your back must be straight with the chin parallel to the floor. Then, as you breathe in and out, try to focus on the task. Usually, we breathe subconsciously without taking much notice of the task. However, now, start breathing deeply while counting each and every breath. 

  • Mantra Chanting

Alternatively, you can even chant “Om” and draw it out for as long as possible. This falls under the realm of mantra meditation, but it is often combined together with mindful breathing. Meditation at home is a simple, and effective way to manage stress. Even 10 minutes of meditation a day has been shown to restructure a person’s brain in the long run. 

  • Music Meditation

For this, make sure you have a noise-cancelling headphone that blocks out all external noises. There are many types of meditative music available online. These are specially curated and have vibration frequencies that can help one relax. If you have a shorter attention span, then music meditation could be your thing! Music meditation in lockdown is getting rapidly popular with the younger generation as more and more people are finding out the art of combining passion with relaxation.

Art and Calligraphy

Calligraphy is one of the artforms that requires extreme mental focus, physical coordination and patience. It takes years to master this simple task. If you’re into art, then you might consider buying a calligraphy book and follow the patterns shown. 

Calligraphy requires extreme concentration and one must spend around 5 years on practise to become well acquainted with it. Another meditative method includes using a blank canvas and creating an abstract painting. Abstract painting prevents the user from thinking about lines, forms and shapes. It can be very freeing for the mind and helps to release ingrained stress.

Jumpstart Tasks

Among the other exercises to relax your brain, is a method known as jumpstarting. Many might find themselves turning lazy during the lockdown. It seems pointless, after all, to do everyday tasks when we are not going out or doing anything special. Hence, we start to neglect smaller tasks. But these small tasks can build up over time and result in a mountain of work that can be difficult to conquer later.

Jumpstart productivity is a mantra that says “if it takes less than 5 minutes, then do it now”. This way, simple tasks get whipped out of the way. Not having to remember whether you made the bed or not can significantly reduce stress. The idea is to only arrange your day around major occurrences and get the minor events done with as quickly as possible. 

Start New Habits

When the lockdown began, there was a rising trend in productivity. Everyone tried out newer trends and recipes, picked up a skill or two and engaged in their hobbies. However, as the data stretched on, such occurrences decreased until an aura of helplessness set in. This is exactly what neuroscientists warn us against! 

Starting new habits keeps our brain sharp. This could be anything – learning to sew, cook, a new language or solving puzzles. Learning a new language is said to engage various parts of the brain. Solving sudoku improves memory as well. Thus, it is essential that we keep up this yearning to learn and know more. However, as these are exercises to relax your brain, it is important to perform them in a non-competitive atmosphere.  Learning to cook should not be a competition with anyone else other than yourself. This freedom is what makes these tasks different from what one does in an office. Here are some new tasks once can pick up in a few months.

  • Learning to Cook – This is perhaps the most popular of them all, but an important life lesson, nonetheless
  • Learning a New Language – French, Spanish and Dutch are the top 3 easiest languages to learn and there are several apps available for this.
  • Learning to Stitch – Sewing can be an incredibly rewarding job. learning the basics can prevent rushing to the tailor every time some old piece does not fit.
  • Learning to Make Paper – Handmade paper can be made from newspaper or used sheets from notebooks.
  • Learning to Make Soap and candles – Making your own organic, scented soap with essential oils will give you a whole new level of joy altogether. Scented candles are suitable for every mood.

These were only a few tips to control anxiety. The key lies in segregating different segments of your life like work, family, private and acting accordingly. Meditation and Painting are two great techniques to focus and train your mind. However, every individual has their own preferred method of unwinding. Either way, it is important to always do something new, and keep pushing to do better every day. That’s what keeps our brains sharp.

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