There is a lot going around lately about being more mindful. It’s more than simply stopping to smell the roses. It is a real psychological technique to help you take a step back and see things for what they really are, instead of seeing them through your faulty perspective—by removing your opinions and prejudices from a situation, you are open to more experiences.
Part of the problem we all have is that we’re always doing something. When we’re working, we’re also trying to figure out what we’re having for dinner or wishing we were anywhere else. While we’re eating a meal, we’re watching a show or reading email because we can’t leave work behind. We dwellon past mistakes. We stress about the future. It’s no wonder we’re always stressed and exhausted.So what I’m trying to do now is learning how to focus all the energy I used to spend stressing and struggling on what is actually happening right in front of me at any given moment. —
The first step is to stop that constant narration that is going on in my head. Now when I feel my thoughts racing, I stop and focus on something—anything—in front of me. It can be as simple as a picture on my desk or the song playing on the radio. It helps pull me out of my own head and separates me from all those thoughts. The next step is to acknowledge a moment when everything is just right. When I eat a great meal or listen to a favorite song, I try to focus on it for a moment. It’s hard to stop and find the time to appreciate something but it really makes me feel happier when I savor that moment.Another thing I am trying is to stop multitasking. Rather than trying to do too many things at the same time, I want to focus on the task that I am actually working on before I move on. I thought it would slow me down, but it turns out that I am able to concentrate more and do things right the first time when I am not distracted by all the other things I am trying to accomplish as I go along. I’m actually more productive than before!
I’m also trying to stop ‘losing time.’ These are those moments where, for example, you’re driving and you have no idea how you got to your destination. Or maybe you find yourself reading the same sentence over and over. It is also those internet wormholes that you find yourself in when you’re supposed to be working. Instead, I am trying to stay focused on the activity I am engaged in and be aware of my surroundings.
The last thing I am working on is to accept my emotions. This one has been especially difficult. Like most people, I try to avoid pain and painful experiences. However, pain is impossible to avoid. Rather than trying to wish it away or distract myself, I am trying to allow myself to feel whatever emotion I’m feeling. This one is something I am really struggling with. It goes against my very nature to acknowledge a difficult situation. But accepting the pain that my old job was bringing me was part of what made me realize that it was the job that was having such a negative impact on my life. Once I was able to separate the two, I realized there was something I could do about it and left.
It has been challenging but very worth it, and I am going to continue to try being mindful. What about you? Have you heard about this or are you interested in trying it?