Mind a Mess? Try a 60-second Speed Clean

Ever have one of those days when your mind traffic makes Atlanta Airport schedule look like child’s play?

According to an April 2014 list from Airports Council International, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic. But Atlanta may not be #1 for long. The report adds, “Beijing is catching up.”

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the busiest of us all?

Ay, ay, ay, that ever-present push to catch up and get ahead.

In my dad’s day, being busy was a medal of honor, a virtue, a sign that you were taking your work seriously. Current data shows that chronic busy-ness is often the fast route to heart attacks, scattered focus, increase in non-productive addictive habits, decreased motivation, and messed-up relationships, among other dire consequences.

When I find my coach clients — and myself — in that crazy-making pressure zone, it’s time to stop. Literally stop. And re-direct the internal mind traffic.

A simple 60-second Strategy can do it.

No need for brain surgery or a trip to the gym. No product to order. Just you and 60 seconds to do the Oasis Strategy I call 4-D, which stands for 4 Directions.

In the photo above, Del Martinez is anchoring my chair as I lead his 80 colleagues in a 4-D Speed Clean. They took the opportunity last Friday to do a Group 4-D to clear the clutter from their minds and give their bodies a stretch.

Here’s how you can begin the practice for yourself.

Set the Stage:

Unplug: whether it’s 3 AM, 10 AM, or 8 PM, turn off your cellphone. Get some distance from your iPad. Turn off TV, anything electronic.

If partners, kids, co-workers are around, let them know that you need private time. If useful, hang a Do Not Disturb sign on your door.

Loosen your belt or anything else that may constrict your breathing.

Stand. Exhale deeply. Make space for your spine and head to lengthen up easily towards the ceiling.

Let your arms hang down loosely. You don’t need to carry a thing. Feel your connection to the earth. Let your entire weight go to gravity.

Now that you are firmly planted, you are ready to do the actual 4-D.

  1. Stretch your finger, hands, arms and entire body to the ceiling, to the sky, as you say the word “North!”out loud in a full voice…. Really feel the stretch… Now exhale… Let your worries go out on a long exhale….  Now let a fresh breath in… lots of room for it…
  1. Bend at your waist… Let your head and whole upper torso drop towards the floor, the earth, as you say the word “South!” Go as far down as your body allows… It’s okay to bend your knees…Easy does it… Let your heavy head simply hang…   Exhale… Very gradually come back to standing, inhaling as you do.
  1. Stretch out both arms in front of you. Extend your fingers as far as they can reach. Wiggle them. Then swing your arms and fingers, along with your whole torso to the east. Say “East!”How far can your arms reach? How far on the horizon can you see? Let the view come into your eyes. If you see clutter, simply let it go on the exhale. Come back to center with your arms still extended in front of you.
  1. Now swing your arms, along with your whole upper torso, to the west. Announce that direction “West!”as if you’re really reaching out beyond the ocean to the furthest sky… Enjoy your body’s ability to experience the world from different vantage points. Come back to center. Feel your feet solidly on the ground.

That’s it. Take another breath or two to enjoy yourself.

Remove your Do Not Disturb sign.

You’re ready to go back into the next minute – with whatever attitude you choose.

Simple, yes? Too simple to make a difference? Try it.

You’ll be amazed at how this sixty-second tool will increase your effectiveness—and your sanity.

Be your own air traffic controller. Redirect your physiology, your fatigue level, your emotional outlook.

Give yourself an Oasis in the Overwhelm. What have you got to lose, besides stress and clutter? Click here now to destress.

Your mind will be squeaky clean.