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Be Still: 12 Intuitive Signs of a Low State of Mind

Be Still: 12 Intuitive Signs of a Low State of Mind

    (Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Garret Kramer, author of Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life. Garret is the founder and managing partner of Inner Sports, LLC. His revolutionary approach to performance has transformed the careers of professionals athletes and coaches, Olympians, and collegiate players across a multitude of sports. Kramer’s work has been featured on WFAN, ESPN, Fox, and CTV, as well as in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other national publications. For more information on the author visit http://www.garretkramer.com, and you can follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.)

    Awareness. That’s the subject of many of the questions I’ve received lately. Readers are wondering about the signs of a low level of awareness, consciousness, or state of mind. As one reader recently asked, “If I’m not seeing life clearly and prone to making poor choices from a low mind-set, then how do I know when I’m low and, therefore, stillpower is the best option?”

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    Good question. Here are twelve intuitive signs that you’re making decisions, changes, or corrections from a low state of mind and it’s time to ease off the gas and let the mind settle.

    1. You notice your thinking.

    Productive states of mind are the result of fluent or undetectable thinking. Contentment, consistency, and excellence spawn from intuition or insight — never the intellect.

    2. You feel bound up, anxious, or angry.

    Feeling out of options, lacking confidence, and volatility are clear-cut signals that your viewpoint is temporarily blurred. Insecurity is a normal byproduct of the fact that you think (and thus, at times, will overthink) — it is not related to the events of your life.

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    3. You are judgmental of others.

    Judgment is the effect of a low state of mind; it has nothing to do with other people or their actions. From a high state of mind, you will have compassion and understanding for the same person whom you judge or disrespect from a low state of mind.

    4. You are blaming your circumstances for the way you feel.

    Whether you grasp it or not, all people discern the world from the inside out, not the outside in. The way you feel about your circumstances (past and present) is solely determined by the quality of your thinking — which is always changing. That’s why you’ll perceive the exact same circumstance differently from moment to moment.

    5. You keep looking outside of yourself for answers.

    If you are on a constant quest for fulfillment; jumping from relationship to relationship, team to team, school to school, city to city, guru to guru, self-help technique to . . . you get the idea, then you’re only preventing your mind-set from ascending on its own. Remember, if allowed to sit still, a glass of murky water always becomes clear.

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    6. You try to think positively.

    Negativity is a fundamental and necessary part of the human experience. Those who understand the arbitrary and meaningless nature of thought would never try to change or fix their thinking. If you combat wayward thoughts by trying to override them with positive ones, you will only energize and prolong the negativity.

    7. You are focusing on the illness and not your health.

    Waging a continuous battle to overcome your perceived deficits is like fighting a paper tiger. From a high state of mind, we recognize our innate health and empower it; from a low state, we detect illness, and, if we buy in, it becomes the standard.

    8. You take things personally.

    When in a low mind-set, we take things to heart; we’re sensitive and defensive. When in a high mind-set, outsiders can’t touch us. It’s okay to feel vulnerable; it will happen as you experience normal fluctuations of consciousness. But don’t forget, your feelings are a barometer of the quality of your thinking, not a barometer of the quality of your life.

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    9. You are intimidated or afraid.

    Fear is an intuitive signal. When fear is real, we instinctually respond in the moment — with no thought or tension. If you’re thinking about another person or situation and are intimidated, then what you’re thinking is a self-created illusion born from your momentarily low psychological perspective.

    10. You can’t find your passion.

    Passion is 100 percent an inside job. We are passionate when our consciousness is elevated; we are passionless when it’s deflated. So, when you lack drive or enthusiasm, don’t look for the explanation in your career or your life. Consider it this way: Young children are passionate and wondrous about everything. Why? Peace of mind and consciousness are their norm.

    11. You believe that you’ll feel better when…

    External events or milestones have no ability to regulate your level of satisfaction or joy. Your state of mind creates your experience; your experience (fortune, fame, health, or lack thereof) has zero effect on your state of mind.

    12. You are practicing awareness.

    Often, this final sign is misunderstood. If you practice awareness, you turn a built-in process into a forced strategy or technique. Thus, your thinking revs up, intuition is stifled, and your perceptual field (options, opportunities, hope) narrows. Understanding that there is a direct connection between your state of mind and your perceptions is the only key to productive decisions.

    (Photo credit: Woman Practicing Meditation via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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