If you’ve worked any length of time, you’ve probably experienced, on occasion, an inability to focus or get things done.
It might have driven you to work extra hard to make up for the moments of naught--only to accrue more hours of work with little else to show for them. And most likely, you’re sitting while you’re doing it, which is slowly but surely declining your heath and longevity.
You’re not alone. A majority of working adults in the U.S. report high levels of stress at work, a leading cause of poor focus. Often, it stems from them working themselves to the bone, forgoing vacations to work harder and trying to achieve more in a day’s work. The problem is, the sometimes frantic pace of the workday creates an environment that’s not at all conducive to getting things done. And so eventually, you either collapse into a mad mess, taking a leave of absence, a “mental health day” or quitting altogether because you're burned out.
And all because you didn’t make space in your life for a simple practice that could help keep you sharp, focused and driven.
What’s the cure? Walking.
The wonders of walking during your workday
One study showed that people who took a 30-minute lunchtime walk three times a week felt much better during their workday. Not only were they more relaxed, but more ready to jump in and win. Another study showed that walking spurred the ability to think creatively by 60% by releasing tension in the body and the mind, opening the flow of ideas. This may explain why innovators like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs would have walking meetings. See, walking creates new connections between the cells in our brains, stimulating neuron growth. And to our point, other studies showed that even just 12 minutes of walking and movement could be enough to significantly improve attention, though processes and ability to focus. Researchers also found that going for a walk in a green space reduced feelings of mental fatigue and stress.
No matter how busy you are in your workday, taking 10 minutes (or your lunch break) to move will do you a world of good. So next time you’re starting to feel overwhelmed with your work to-do list, or that problem that doesn’t seem to have a solution, take advantage of your break, the right way.
Need a few more winning practices to add to your workday walking routine? Here you go.
Breathing has long been used in eastern medicine as a healing technique for the body. Focused moments of deep breathing can greatly improve your ability to handle stress. This allows more oxygen to fill your lungs and helps your body feel calm again.
When you’re anxious or deep in thought, your body tends to tighten up. That means that your muscles are even tighter than they would be sitting and staring at a computer all day. Stretching not only releases the built-up tension but refreshes your muscles and your mind by regulating heart rate and blood pressure. Like walking, these movements, small though they may seem, can help increase your focus and optimize the workings of your brain.
Refocusing your mind and getting back to the tasks at hand doesn’t have to require a “mental health day” or a “spa day”. Refocusing could be a short walk away. Throw in some fresh air and outdoor greenery, and you’ll get an instant mood boost that will help you make it victoriously through your day--and get things done.