Stressed out? Try a ritual-building strategy

The ritual-building strategy starts by helping people target a specific area of their lives.

I recently attended a conference where the entire topic area was on time management and maintaining focus. However, during the conference, I happened to notice people could not keep themselves away from their smartphones, tablets or computers long enough to actually focus on the speaker. Why do these devices have such a tight grip on our attention?

When my husband and I left home for the conference I thought I had the best plans laid out for where and what my children were going to be doing during the week we were gone. You can imagine my surprise then, when I landed in Nevada at the airport, on the first day of my trip, to find my phone already had full of voicemails and texts stating that basketball practice was canceled and the person that had my youngest son wasn’t sure how to get ahold of my mother. Even though things seemed a little hairy and I was unavailable to fix the situation when it arose, the people that were in charge of my children figured it out and everything was alright.

What I learned about that situation is that I could work on letting go of the need to be a slave to my cell phone and learn to trust in the people that are around me.

During the conference I listened to a speaker as he referenced works by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz; The Power of Full Engagement. One technique to improve their focus that I think people could try is a ritual-building strategy. One program that Michigan State University Extension offers, called Stress Less with Mindfulness, helps people learn different mindful practices to help with the inability to stay focused on different tasks. The ritual-building strategy starts by helping people target a specific area of their lives such as using one mindful practice a day. The next step is to go through a series of questions help you critically think about how to implement that practice on a daily basis.

  • Ask yourself, what is your adoption barrier? In other words, what is keeping you from actually using your mindful practice? My adoption barrier would be not having enough time in the day.
  • What is your personal value driving the change? Do you want to be healthier, more at peace?
  • What is your expected adoption consequence? Would you be able to focus on a difficult task and be more resilient to stress?
  • Now, what are those positive energy rituals that can support the targeted change? Such as every morning, listen to three minutes of a guided imagery app on your phone.

By setting specific goals and having a well thought out written plan you will be more successful in your quest for a healthier you!

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