A technique mentioned by the some of the experts in the psychology world is known as “mindfulness”, also known as “Present moment awareness.” University of Masachusetts even has a stress reduction program using this mindfulness technique. It is known as MBSR – Mindful Based Stress Reduction.
While I’m no expert in this technique, I do know that one of the basic premises of mindfulness is to stay in the present moment, sensing what is around you, through sight, hearing, touch, and smell. This new way of observing allows the mind to relax and reduce stress. For more information, you can look at the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of mindfulness.
I personally always like to link things back to Islam, as it is our foundation for living our life. I found an ayah that alludes to this mindfulness technique.
فَلْيَنْظُرِ الْإِنْسَانُ إِلَىٰ طَعَامِهِ
So let man take a close look at the food he eats! 80:24
I tried applying this ayah when I sat down to eat. I normally would take my computer and listen to something, whether it’s a lecture, or news while I am eating to save time and be more “productive,” but I wanted to give it a shot. So I did nothing except for observe my food. I would observe how the food tastes, the textures and the flavours of whatever I was eating. The sounds the food makes in my mouth, how the food looks, and the ingredients in it. How all the ingredients comes from some natural source provided to us by Allah, and how much care Allah has to provide us with such amazing delicious food.
I found that this takes your mind off of the stress. It takes you away from being preoccupied in your mind. I found it to be a way to relax, and a way to increase your gratitude to Allah. It is a way to relax and increase your iman at the same time. As for the idea that “you will be more productive if you multi-task,” Muhammad Al-Shareef mentions in his Time Travel Master Program that in order to be more productive, you have to allow your mind to disengage not thinking and stressing about work to become more productive. So even from the aspect of being productive, engaging in this can allow you to increase in productivity.