Mindful of your intensity level

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“By being mindful of our intensity level we can avoid burning out thought long term over-exertion, and also avoid unnecessary under-productivity. It’s an easy way to avoid extremes and hit your ‘sweet spot’ in terms of both quality of life and productivity!”

Dear Integral Meditators,

What is your habitual ‘speed and intensity level’? This weeks article explores how you can start to set the pace that serves you in your life!

In the spirit of balanced intensity,

Toby

 


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Mindful of your intensity level

Think about your pace and intensity in life as having four speeds:

  1. 1-2 – Sleep or complete relaxation
  2. 3-4 – Low effort mode, doing just enough
  3. 5-6 – Flow state, a balance of focused effort and relaxation
  4. 7-10 – High intensity effort

Take a moment to reflect on which ‘speeds’ you tend to be in for much of your day. As you do so you might start to recognise that you tend to favour one or two speeds, and not the other two. Ideally as mindfulness practitioners, we should be looking to have each of these levels of intensity available to us, and use them consciously according to our need.
So, for example much of the productive part of our day would be at the ‘flow-state’ level of 5-6 on the scale; a balance of focused relaxation. This level enables us to get work done at a pace that is sustainable over a period of time, without getting exhausted or burned out.
Occasionally we might peak up to a high intensity 7-10 when we really want to get something done in a faster way (eg: in an emergency), but then after we would need to consciously dip back down to level 2 (3-4 intensity) for a while in order to restore our energy level. Of course we would be going down to level 1 by getting enough sleep and absolute rest.
The point about this four level structure of intensity is that, if we have it in mind we can then start to mindfully manage our effort and energy during the day. We avoid burning out thought long term over-exertion, and also avoid unnecessary under-productivity. It’s an easy way to avoid extremes and hit your ‘sweet spot’ in terms of both quality of life and productivity!
A useful question to ask ourselves is ‘How much effort and intensity do I need to compete this task?’ Quite often I find that its slightly less than I think. If I relax a little and bring just enough intensity to the task, that brings me to the optimal level of effort.

Article © Toby Ouvry 2019, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com   


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