I hate overwhelm.
When I have too many professional challenges, personal obligations and a frazzled mindset, I feel worthless. My creative thinking, focused energy and big ideas can't be found for the life of me.
And the only true cure for that mental constipation was reaffirmed to me on my recent vacation to La Paz on Baja.
Here's the story...
Upon the suggestion of my business partner, I booked a half-day cruise out into the Sea of Cortez.
The purpose was simple: to swim with the whale sharks.
Now for those who don't know about this 200-million-year-old species, it is neither whale nor shark. Whale sharks are simply the largest fish in the sea growing up to 11 meters snacking on plankton in about 6-7 warm water areas around the world.
To say that I was fearless as our 18-foot boat motored out from the harbor would be an alternative fact.
Don't get me wrong. I'm adept at swimming in ocean waters learning to swim in the Mediterranean at age 3. Yet possibly coming face-to-face with a fish weighing upwards of 41,000 pounds, well, that would be an eye-opening experience.
We stopped about five miles off shore. After donning a wet-suit and snorkel mask, I jumped into the warm waters. I did so a bit nervously as our guide signaled for us to look down. I dipped my head below the surface and what came through the mask's lens was truly mind-blowing.
Massive white spotted creatures of the sea swimming right in front of my eyes. Even though they stretched out 30-plus feet, these gentle giants swam gracefully and effortlessly.
I was hypnotized. Obviously there was nothing to fear but fear itself.
On the boat ride back into the harbor, I felt that wondrous sensation of an uncluttered mind. To think and feel without encumbrance. To reflect with clarity. To find perspective.
As my swim with whale sharks reaffirmed to me, fresh experiences do wonders for your mind. You get rid of the clutter. You think better, more creatively and more effortlessly.
Here are four simple ideas to help you out the next time you find yourself challenged by an overloaded mind.
1. Get Lost: Escaping your workplace and usual environment clears your mind and gives you time to reflect. Just as my trip to La Paz did.
2. Take a Hike: Okay, so maybe you can't travel out of town. Consider a visit to a local park or scenic natural landmark accompanied by just the sounds of nature. Research studies continue to support the positive benefit between mind/body health and connecting with nature
3. Have Fun: Do something you love to do. Maybe it's visiting a museum. Attending a concert or music venue. Perhaps doing something physical (my Friday afternoon bike rides in nature is my therapy). Or just talking with a close personal friend.
4. Show Some Love: Be good to yourself. Get a massage. Take in a movie. Catch 40 winks in your backyard.
Think about all this the next time you feel your thinking is anything but creative, fresh or inspired. And remember: you don't need a plane ride to Baja.
You just need to take your mind where it hasn't been before.