Just like you train yourself physically to get into peak performance, you have to train your mind to be working at peak performance.
Just like you perform physical stretches so that you can workout better, you have to do mental stretches to get into the right mental state.
When you are in the right mental state, good quality thinking happens more effortlessly. You have to cultivate that mental state everyday. Especially if you recognize that you are in a rut or in a low mental state one day, you have to actively begin to take steps to get out of it rather than waiting for the laziness wave to go away.
What are some ways to establish productive mental state?
Go for a run outside and get your breathing going
The physical infrastructure on which the mind operates is your physical brain. If you brain is physically not healthy, it affects your mind and the thoughts you have. This is why I like to go out for a run every day to kick start my day. It's not even about exercise any more. In fact, my legs muscles are beginning to complain now because they are overused. This week I had to consciously not go out for a run because I felt my muscles needed the break, but my mind was ready for it. The main reason I go for a run now is to ensure my brain is oxygenated and ready to work well for the morning, to shakeoff the laziness from sleep.
Read inspiring books
My reading diet is 99% non-fiction and even then it's very inclined towards self-development and productivity. Reading such book exercises my mind and reignites ideas. It serves as a reminder for concepts that I can easily forget if I don't attend to them regularly. The last physical book I read was Atomic Habits and I made it a habit to read a chapter a day in the morning after my run and before I started work. This jogged my mind and kept me in routine so that I was inspired by action taking ideas.
Listen to motivational videos and podcasts
This doesn't have to be motivational porn per se that get you pumped up. You could listen to a talk by a successful person to understand their jouney and for me its exciting and reignites the fire. However, I am experimenting with listening to highly inspiring and motivational Youtube videos to get me into state on a daily basis.
For me journaling and writing in general is a form of jogging the mind. I have not been consistent with journaling but I do go on daily sprints from time to time. I have found that my best ideas and the general state of being is almost always better when I have been journaling consistently. Writing works like therapy and helps me explorer ideas and generally gives rise to new ideas that I wouldn't have thought of if I was just ruminating in my head.
Meditation and Breathing
I'll be honest, I'm also not very consistent with this one, partly because you don't see the results from meditation come so fast and partly because it can take some time. However, I sprint with basic mindfulness and breathing exercises often. Still the best productive time I've had this year was during winter break when I was doing 40 minute meditation routines along with everything else in my routine for about 2 weeks straight. The amount of things I created and learned during that time was insane and I'mn going to attempt to redo that routine.
These are just some basic tips to get started. I'm sure there are a lot more. What are some of the things that you have tried to get into a good mental state? What have you had success with and what didn't work? Let me know in the comments.