By Lynn M. Acquafondata
Often I feel myself pulled to pay attention to multiple things at once. I may be reviewing a file or writing a note when a co-worker stops by my office. Suddenly I get a text message from someone who wants to schedule an appointment. At the same time I receive a phone call from home. And, I can’t shake a nagging feeling about something important I need to get done today, but I can’t remember what it is.
I’ve come to accept that our technological world will continue to bring reminders and distractions to my consciousness regularly from texts, notifications, phone calls, videos and environmental stimulation. These outside interruptions will continue to prompt internal thoughts and emotions with anticipations of the future, and ruminations on the past.
However, I can bring mindfulness to the rescue. Mindfulness involves focus and awareness, without judgement. On one level that sounds simple. On another it is quite challenging and takes practice especially with so much stimuli in our lives.
In the scene above I cannot focus on all of the stimuli at once. If I mindfully choose where to put my attention, then I can acknowledge other stimuli as distractions and set them aside without judgment. For example, if the file is the focus, I can ask the co-worker to come back in five minutes. If interaction with people is most important, I could turn away from the file and put my full attention on the co-worker for a few minutes.
I may note the sound of the text message and even my curious thought about who it might be, but I focus attention on my priority for the moment without looking at the text or continuing to think about it. Whether it is a text message, a phone call or the nagging feeling that I forgot something, I can mindfully notice it, name it, then let it go to focus on the person I’m talking to or the file I’m working on.
Focusing mindfully in daily life situations can be challenging. When I engage in mindfulness exercises and mindful meditation on a regular basic, I train my mind to be more skilled and intentional about focusing and letting go of distracting thoughts, emotions and interruptions. I also get better at prioritizing.
Want to learn some mindfulness skills and try them out with the guidance of a mindfulness coach? Crossbridge Wellness Affiliates offers mindfulness drop-in classes. Some of our affiliates incorporate mindfulness practices in our sessions too.
Sometimes making a commitment to join others and attend a class can give the boost you need to get started in changing your life.
Photo courtesy of Catalog on Unsplash.