For so long I was rather proud of my stellar multitasking skills. It was one of the reasons I enjoyed working as a server in a restaurant. I loved trying to be as efficient as possible and to this day I still find myself trying to carry as many things as I can to and from the kitchen. While these skills come in handy while hosting Thanksgiving, my multitasking mind is driving me crazy, and even worse making me frazzled and spacey. Yes, I know... I have always been frazzled and spacey but either it's getting worse or I'm just noticing it more and I need to get a handle (a lack of focus is also a common side effect of depression). Yes, it's great to be efficient but there is a time in which simply doing one task at a time, with thought and focus, brings better results and is oh-so welcomed.
I notice how frequently my mind jumps from one thing to the next while driving or in yoga. I see myself forgetting things because I decided to switch my focus right before I leave my house. I see myself running late because I was trying to squeeze in one more thing. Even when I walk Coconut, I see how quickly my mind flits from one thing to the next. It directly correlates to the level of anxiety that I experience moment to moment. When my mind is going nutty, thinking of all the things, I tend to have higher anxiety. When I calmly move through one task before moving onto the next, I have little to no anxiety.
There are three things that I am currently focusing on to bring about more mindfulness (opposite of multitasking) while moving through my day.
Witness and write.
The first is that I am witnessing and writing about it. You cannot change something if you don't understand it, so watch and then get curious. Then get those thoughts out of your head. Writing is the best way for me and has scientific evidence to show that it helps you let go of frustrations and gain clarity. This is a safe place to vent. It is also a great way to track your life. Like writing a textbook for how you create change. Really quite amazing when you look back to old fears and realize that it was just part of the plan.
If you can't find a rhythm for regularly writing out your thoughts, you can talk them out if you wish. My favorite places for this are the car and the shower. I simply ask myself questions about why I feel the way I feel. Why that thing bothers me so much? What would happen if I tried another way? What are some other ways that this might work better? What ever you do, let the words fly out of your brain. Once they are out you can start to use them to create the plan. Its like your words are the building blocks for change.
**Always remember that if you dive into stuff thats too deep, it's okay. Take some deep breaths and remind yourself that those kinds of feelings are a part of being human. Maybe find a friend or a loved one that would listen well. Even better, ask a professional for help. You don't just get over stuff, you have to go through it. It can be scary but it also can be very freeing.
Of course, meditation.
The second thing I'm doing is upping my meditation game. I have been meditating off and on for years, but I realized that even my meditation had a sense of "okay let me do this so I can check it off my list". Over the past few months I have started to create more time for meditation, I have found guided meditations I like for certain times of the day or concerns. I have made playlists and have been treating it with much more respect. I now see my mediation as the time I get to reconnect, to myself and to something bigger, the energy of the earth. I know this sounds like I should be hugging a tree, but it's true. Everything on earth is made of energy, everything. And by being still and breathing I am able to notice my energy (how my body feels, how my mind feels, what emotions are coming up) and I'm able to feel the bigger energy (the support of the earth, the things I notice with all five of my senses, and the peace that shows up every once in a while when I really get in there).
I've even take meditation off the pillow and into regular activities too. Most nights I use this yoga nidra sleep mediation that I love. I tap into other senses when I'm walking, washing dishes or showering. I stop and sit on a bench for a moment or go outside and sit quietly in the sun for a few minutes. This all started as a gratitude practice that I did once daily, but has become the practice of being grateful in as many moments as possible throughout my day. Stop and smell the freakin' roses.
The last thing I'm doing to find more moments of clarity, is I'm learning more about mindfulness. Reading books, listening to podcasts, going to yoga, indulging in professional guidance on the subject. These are not done daily but they are included in my month so that I can continue to learn new tools to help me calm my monkey mind. No one wants a worked up monkey.
This is a slow climb kinda habit change. A slow burn process, but one that brings so much value to not just changing your habits, but changing your life. Even more, the more work you put in, the faster the changes start to happen. Witness and then get curious. Let the words free somehow, someway. Meditate. Meditate some more. Then meditate while you swim in the ocean or simply wash your hair. Learn more about what your multitasking mind is actually seeking and how to invite in more focus and peace. Focus and peace, that's all I'm asking for. No biggie.