In our world of constant stimulation, distraction, multitasking, and glorification of busy it is natural that humans have become increasingly mindless in the day-to-day happenings. This isolates us from our environment, decreases cognitive function, and detracts from the present moment. We are constantly focusing on the past and future instead of allowing ourselves to truly experience our lives.
Our culture has glorified ‘busyness’ and made the ability to multitask not only beneficial but essential.
It is rare that we take a moment to put away our smartphones, turn off the music surrounding us, and focus on breathing. Even small things like going for a run which in the past may have been a serene and individual experience must be supplemented with music and other various distractions to ensure we our never fully present in our experience. Studies have shown that this tendency has proven to be very detrimental to our emotional, mental, and physiological selves.
There is a constant hum in our minds and environment which detracts from any peace or stillness we wish to experience. Shallow breath is another resultant from this phenomenon.
The Multitasking Myth:
It has been said that multitasking doesn’t even exist. Humans are incapable of multitasking. Instead, we just switch, inefficiently, from one task to another. Take the time to focus as much as possible on one thing at a time and I feel confident that you will discover the efficiency and productivity in slowing down.
Most of us are so distracted by the past and future that even remembering the name of a person we just met can prove to be quite a feat! When I reflect on this fact I am baffled at the thought that something so significant and simple could be completely disregarded due to our own preoccupations. Giving someone your attention is the most basic human exchange. It’s no wonder that many people feel so isolated in our world. No one gives or receives his/her full attention! It’s all a complex illusion that we care when really we’re wondering who just liked our Instagram post. Something that was supposed to unite people that only further distances us.
4 Tips To Find Your Mind and Reduce That ‘Busyness’:
I challenge you to discipline yourself and offer your attention, at least a few times each day, to focus completely on another person without your own preoccupations clouding the interaction!
Another practice I have found to be beneficial in increasing my mindfulness is creating one space in which you feel undisturbed. It can be a very small thing. Even a small corner of your living space where you can sit on the floor and be completely at ease and without stimulation would be sufficient! If possible, an area where nature or a plant is visible is ideal as that may be even more calming. Take time to breathe, light a candle, sit and clear your mind. Be present in your body momentarily and if you allow yourself to fully experience the present moment. I am of the opinion that most people will be surprised at the fullness of a seemingly dull moment.
Try The ‘Worry Box’:
Something my mother has been telling me to do since I was a small child, as I have struggled with anxiety for much of my life, is create what she called a Worry Box. A place to put all the things in your head that are spinning around and causing you grief, distracting you from the task at hand. Don’t try to control your thoughts simply try to control the patterns. If you enter a worry cycle, try to put it down on paper. You’ll notice that even the physical act can be quite therapeutic and stop the spiraling that can take place when you enter a negative cycle.
No Phone Zone:
Try to take some time away from your mobile device. This is a huge source of stress and anxiety for most people. One of the most important times to avoid it is upon waking. Everyone seems to use a smartphone as an alarm clock but I think this is one of the more anxiety provoking and negative ways to start your day. The first thing you see when you arise is a phone full of notifications which likely jumpstarts your cortisol production for the day! If you do require an alarm clock to wake up at the necessary time, try using a bedside one. That way you not only save yourself that initial jolt of stress forecasting a busy day by looking at your phone screen first thing but you can also turn off your phone. This is beneficial for the battery and it means you’re body isn’t absorbing radio waves all night sleeping with an active phone right beside your head!
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