What are you up to right now? You may be reading this blog, but you’re probably gulping down breakfast and preparing a to-do list of things you can never accomplish in a day. You’re about to dash out the door with a million things to do if you’re like me.
Women, especially, are notorious for multitasking – and it may be killing us and making our lives miserable. When we piggyback our chores, and even our pleasures, we can’t give them our full attention and we simply go through the motions of crossing another item off our list.
The more we squeeze in, the less we feel we’ve accomplished says Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. If you want to maximize every minute, speeding up isn’t the best way to do it. What is? Slowing down and being “mindful”, learning how to be in the moment so you can live a fuller life.
He says to pay close attention to what you’re doing at any given time, no matter how ordinary your activities may be. When you’re mindful, you make up the “lost time” by performing more efficiently – you’ll see problems as they really are, and not as imagined exaggerations.
If nothing else, practice mindfulness so you can notice the small purple flowers that grow by the roadside.
If you are having a hard time focusing – try this exercise that is working for me though it is a bit painful as I begin. By the end, I have usually had a shift in my mood – and a sense of renewal.
* Set your cell phone or an alarm clock for 10 minutes (even five is better than nothing),
* Sit upright but comfortable in a chair. It helps to close your eyes.
* Become aware of your breath moving in and out. Think “out” when you feel the fall of the exhalation, and “in” when you feel the rise or pressure of inhalation. When your mind wanders – and it will – acknowledge that you’ve lost contact with your breath and return to concentrating on the “in and out.”
* The most important thing is to realize that every moment you wander off is a moment of being aware, of clarity. That’s what you’re going for. Every time you have that moment of clarity and return to the exercise, your mind is actually clear and present. Every experience of awareness makes the next more likely.