In the Zone: Taking Five for the Mind

To say I have a pretty busy schedule is an understatement. I have my kids and family. I’m on the set of Good Morning America every day which is really early in the morning. Then I’m off to do Fox Sports stuff as well as running a management company and clothing brand. With all that going on sometimes it’s just hard stay focused and present. Now, I’ve tried meditation, but I don’t practice it in the traditional sense (you know, crossing my legs and putting my fingers in a circle and chanting “om” and all that stuff), but I have my own way to focus and center myself.

Compartmentalize. All of my jobs require a totally different skill set which not only keeps things interesting, it also prevents me from sweating the small stuff. So compartmentalizing is key. Not having focus is not an option because I can’t coast through any of my jobs; they all require me to use a different part of my brain and I love that. That’s what makes me interested and that’s what makes me able to bring the same amount of energy to each one.

Slow it down. Sometimes I get nervous and anxious. Sometimes there’s a reason for it—and sometimes there’s no reason for it- and sometimes there’s no reason for it. Whatever the cause, I just take a deep breath and concentrate on slowing down my mind … and if that doesn’t do the trick, I start talking … a … little … bit … slower. When I talk slowly, it puts me right back into the rhythm of what I need to do and that calms me down. So slow it down whenever you feel overwhelmed.

Just breathe. When I was playing football, a psychologist gave me a tape of breathing exercises, which have really helped me through the years and still do. I picture fresh air coming through different areas of my body, starting with my mind down to my head and then to my toes. It takes the stress away and gives me a great center.

Listen. When I’m at work, staying focused and present means listening. Because when you’re listening, you don’t have time to think about what’s next and what’s coming up. You’re actively listening and that keeps you in the present, in the conversation and right there in that moment with whoever you’re with.

Shut it down. At the beginning of the day, I take the time to close my eyes and think, so I don’t go into my day feeling overwhelmed. I remember to not worry about what I can’t control; I think a lot of formal meditation helps you understand that you can only control what’s right there in front of you at that time and you can’t control the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen throughout my day and this moment helps me to slow down my brain, so I can prepare to take care of each thing as it comes because the day is never predictable. But unpredictability is what I think makes every day great and fun.