Have you ever driven somewhere and after you arrive, realize you don’t even remember driving there?
Or, have you ever talked to someone and when asked what you talked about, you found yourself trying to remember?
It’s easy to lose our concentration and focus when we get overwhelmed. But, there’s often a high price to pay for not paying attention. For example, a friend of mine recently broke her ankle while touring Sedona, AZ. She is on pain medications, and cannot even shower by herself. She told me she was upset with herself because she “wasn’t paying attention to where she was going”.
She also shared with me that she had “too many things going on” – a trip, work, and house guests she had to host and show around, and allowed herself to feel scattered.
I’m sure we can all relate – having too much on our plate often leads to scattered, unfocused thinking and prevents us from really paying attention to what we’re doing or where we’re going.
So, how can we stay centered and focused when there are so many things demanding our time and attention? Yep! You guessed it – mindfulness. Mindfulness is not a concept we’ve heard a lot about in the western world. It originated in Asia, along with meditation, an increasingly popular concept being used more often to combat the relentless stress we’re all exposed to.
Here are some of my definitions for mindfulness:
AN INVITATION: To live more peacefully, calmly, and contentedly.
To participate in life more consciously, with more awareness.
“Being Present”… in the moment.
What does that mean to you?
To me it means that I’m enjoying my life more, getting better results in all the things I do, having better relationships, and avoiding costly mistakes.
It also means that I am creating a better future for myself, as your thoughts and memories today create and become your future. If you’re never really present, you can’t really have the quality memories you would have if you had been present. It also means I will keep making the same mistakes and stay stuck in the same old unhealthy, non-productive patterns if I am not consciously learning from my mistakes.
Mindfulness Skills to Stay Focused, Present and Safe
Caution: only use these skills if you’re ready to improve your life. You will never look at yourself or life the same again.
1. OBSERVE YOURSELF: Step back from yourself (in your mind’s eye) and begin to observe yourself living your life (pretend you are a private detective that was hired to follow you around and report back – take notes). This gives you the distance you need to see yourself and your behaviors, thoughts, feelings.
2. JUST NOTICE THE EXPERIENCE: Experience the situation/moment without reacting to it. Don’t judge yourself or others in the moment.
3. HAVE A TEFLON MIND: Try letting experiences, feelings and thoughts just slip right out of your mind.
4. DON’T PUSH AWAY THOUGHTS: Try to stay with thoughts that you typically push away or “stuff”. Just breathe through them – they won’t kill you – promise. The longer you stay with the thought or feeling, the less difficult it feels.
Enjoy a new found mastery of your mind!