If you’re busy, you’re not alone; busy has become a new normal. The allure of busy is steeped
in the perception that busy means high demand, and therefore, important. And in a culture that values hard work as a means to success, where leisure-time was once a perk for having
garnered that success, busy has replaced that as the status symbol for you’ve made it. But what price are we paying for this busy mindset? When the busy volume is turned up, we tune out, making it difficult to recognize the signs that often lead to illness, stress, and anxiety. The
frantic pace of getting it all done moves self-care to the optional column on our long to-do lists. When we allow busy habits to take priority and intrude upon our significant relationships we experience more conflict within them. Professional alliances are more susceptible to miscommunication. Productivity slips as we time-slice and multitask (it doesn’t work) through fractured interactions. Daily distractions and the demands of keeping up pull us from our true center, where in quiet moments, we reenergize and restore our bodies and foster wellness, self-healing, and creative and resourceful problem solving.
Adopting a more mindful approach is a busy-freeing practice that enhances total wellbeing. It
requires no purchase of expensive equipment and is something anyone can learn. And the
benefits far outweigh your time invested. Slowing down can be the start of a mindful practice
that will reconnect you with your sense of wellbeing, boost your immune system, reboot your
prefrontal cortex; the region of the brain responsible for complex processes such as reasoning, problem solving, and memory. Over time, as you disconnect from the blur and enticements of busy, you’ll embolden yourself to be mentally stronger and more resilient when faced with change and unrest.
Mindfulness is the practice of clearing your mind of distracting thought and attuning to the
present moment - that’s it. Ever notice how you get your best ideas when you’re in the shower or on a walk? Your mind needs time and space to decompress and make room for new ideas. Meditation is a powerful mindfulness tool for releasing yourself from heavy thought and burdensome thinking. You’ll gain mental clarity, invigorate your inspiration, and be more incline to gravitate to the positive aspects of any situation, challenge, or opportunity. These four mindful practices will help you reset your mindset, clear your mental pathways, and access your unique attributes so that you can bring your most meaningful work into your world and your best life forward as often as you choose.
Before you jump out of bed in the morning, take three deep breaths. Close your eyes and envision the face of someone you love who loves you. You’ll probably notice a smile come to your face. Now you’ve set your brain on a positive channel and its ready to download your mantra. Make it simple and one that you can repeat every morning and throughout the day, and one that reminds you to remain mindful even when things go awry. Two of my favorites are “Today is a good day” and “It doesn’t matter what happens, it only matters how I handle it.” Your mantra will percolate throughout the day, and science shows us that the brain will look for evidence to support the thought. And, the more we think something, the more importance the brain gives to that thought making it easier to repeat - that’s how habits get set up. We get really good at what we think about so why not think the thoughts that get you where you want to be and help you feel the way you want to feel!
Gratitude helps us to be more resilient and is the pathway to happiness. It is an attention towards appreciating the goodness in life for what we receive, tangible or intangible. Gratitude helps us recognize that this goodness is within us at all times. This recognition is fundamental in deepening our connections to something bigger beyond ourselves. When we lead our thoughts and actions with a grateful heart, we can feel more positive, hopeful, and calm. Find a quiet place and take one to three minutes to close your eyes and breathe. Begin by thanking your body and mind for showing up each day to assist you and support you. Follow that by choosing two or three tangible objects that you are grateful for and assist you and support you each day. For example, your car, you washing machine, your computer. Thank one person that is always there for you, and if you can’t think of someone personally, perhaps there is a well-known person you look up to and in this moment acknowledge gratitude for what that person has brought into your world. I like to conclude with thanking Mother Earth for all the beauty and pleasure she brings to me each day. Consider gratitude as a practice rather than a mood and practice it often. By doing so, you’ll increase the happiness hormone dopamine and reduce the stress hormone cortisol, helping you think more clearly and boost your immune system.
Three Minute Meditation
Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes. Take five deep breathes and silently repeat “Quiet my mind, quiet my thoughts”. Focus your attention on your breath and when you feel your mind being pulled by sounds o