A lady shared her experience of living the modern life, I mean the busy life we leave in our modern day. In her words ‘’ I consider myself a very good mother, employee and church member. I am committed, reliable and i give my very best to all of this area. My children, husband, boss at work and church priest can attest of my selflessness. I am selfless to the very core. I put others first. A typical day for me starts off at 5am everyday. I wake up to prepare breakfast for the family, get them ready for school, drop them off at 8am and then make my way to work at 9am. Although my husband offers to help with dropping and picking them up, I always turn that down as the kids prefer my company. After work at 6pm , I often offer to work extra hours. Sometimes an hour over and on very few occasions two hours more. My boss knows he can rely on me to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s. I am known within my team as the person who does not live the office until all is done. I am very convinced that I am working myself up to a promotion pretty soon. Finishing work an hour over everyday simply means I get home 8pm or slightly over. My husband doesn’t mind as much because we need the extra income from the overtime. More also, freezer is stuffed with food for him and the kids before my arrival. I spend the whole of my Saturday cooking for the week. On Sundays I lead the choir in my church. This means a very early start as the choir starts the service. After church I help out with cleaning before going home’’
This is the routine of this lady. A year later she said her husband was beginning to complain about her looking frequently tired and gloomy. She was always on the move. Interestingly, this is the reality of a typical modern person ( Male and Female).
As the lady said, she is happy to be a selfless giver. It Is great to be there for people you love and care about, but how about you? You can not pour from an empty cup. What happens when you eventually run yourself over? the company will continue, the church door will remain open, your husband and children will survive…what becomes of you?
A lot of times we think we are being productive when we juggle hundred things together. Not necessarily. Research has shown that Multitasking may be training your mind to be more distracted. Your inability to focus the mind makes it less able to stay focus on a particular thing even when you are not multitasking. The mind wanders because you consciously tell it to wander around many things at the same time. A research from Harvard shows that our minds travel 47% of the time. Have you ever tried to sit down for an hour without doing anything. Most people find it hard to sit alone with themselves. It is at that point the phone beeps. A whatsapp message which is very urgent but not very important drops in. These days you don’t need people’s phone number to ring them. An online friend you met on Facebook rings you on messenger. You are nice so you don’t want to be rude by not responding to the call on messenger. If the phone is not taking away your attention, your mind could be thinking about what you will be doing in school or work the next day. Ever wondered why people feel drained, tired, restless, and moody. A lot of this are result of busy minds. The sure way out of this is to stop for a while and take notice.
Take notice!. Take notice of what is going on around you and within you. On your way back from work put the headphones away and take notice. Take some time off work and go somewhere. Go without your work laptop and phone. Just Take notice!. One or two hours before you go to bed disconnect from social media and if possible all calls. Eat calmly and enjoy a sip of your juice without rushing it for the sake of something fighting for your attention. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror, take notice of your thoughts, your current feelings and the things happening around you. By doing this you train your mind to be more focused on the little things that would have ordinarily been ignored. Many have carried around life threatening illnesses that they didn’t notice as they were ‘’busy’’. loud symptoms in the internal chatter of their minds kept their ears closed.
This practice of mindfulness helps you put away your initial thought of a thing and allows you to pay attention to what that thing is actually saying. You avoid getting cut up in what you think it is saying or what it has said before . The essence of mindfulness is to train the mind to be here, and to be present at the particular place we are. This practice allows for increased sense of social connection. It allows us to be present, available and open to our current world. Our life is the result of the thoughts we pay attention to. Whatever you practice grows stronger. This happens because new brain neurons increases to a specific repeated practice.
The reality is, we are constantly practising mindfulness. Each time you dedicate your thoughts to a particular thing good or bad for a specific time frame, you are mindful of that specific idea. The essence of making mindfulness a lifestyle is to ensure that you are making a conscious decision of the things you want to be mindful of. You are deciding to choose the thought you want to grow. You are taking conscious charge of it and directing it how far you want it to go.
Find out what is competing for your attention, eliminate it, and focus on the most important things in the middle of a lot of other stuff. A study done on people at work added that, when people get distracted from a task it takes them at least 23 minutes before they eventually return back to it. Some call it task switching, it may rather be a way of training our minds to do the opposite of focusing. This idea of task switching raises our stress hormone called cortisol.
It is very easy to get caught up in our busyness without stopping to take notice of the beautiful things life and nature has given freely. Our ability to be constantly mindful of the positive and the beautiful things within and around us goes a long way in improving our mental well-being. Are you mind-full or mindful? STOP today and be mindful.