This week’s theme has been steadiness. Or, maybe it’s actually been peace…or calm? Hmmm…well, it’s apparently not been clarity. Just kidding, y’all, but for real though. This week, we talked about those times in life when everything you can possibly imagine having to deal with demands to be dealt with. There isn’t one thing that’s holding its own. None of the pots on your stove are on simmer; they are all boiling over. You get my drift. It’s hectic.
It’s the perfect moment for a “no-fail” mindfulness challenge. Just gimme a sec. I promise I’m getting there.
The thing is, during times like this, mindfulness often takes a backseat, or maybe even gets tossed out by the roadside. There’s no space on your to-do list for slowing the chatter in your mind. That noise is everything you need, right? It’s the all-important reminder of everything you have to do. I think the real question is, though, does it actually help you do it?
When I talk with the MBA applicants I coach about using mindfulness in their work, we often end up on the subject of standardized tests. Yuck, I know, but they’re an unavoidable part of the deal. An issue some of even the brightest, most prepared test takers face is time management, a.k.a., running out of time on the exam. In my non-test-prep-expert opinion, I think this often has to do with overwhelm. When you’re in a stressful situation, you end up spending a lot of valuable time thinking about it, instead of problem-solving/acting your way through it.
A similar thing happens when our lives get chaotic. We become so overwhelmed by the task(s) at hand, that we stop being able to do, and start drowning in our thoughts about it. In other words, we experience the “freeze” in the “fight, flight, or freeze” stress response.
This is when you need to break it down. As a wise man once said, you need to start living your life “a quarter mile at a time.” (Special thanks to my sis for reminding me of that gem recently…gold!)
This weekend, for your mindfulness challenge, you’re going to get back in the driver’s seat. In order to see clearly, the first thing you need to do is close your eyes.
Next, you’re going to take a listen:
Hopefully, this simple but powerful exercise will not only help you center yourself amidst the demands of the moment, but it might even make you a safer driver as well. Just remember, 10 and 2, and the rest will take care of itself. ;-)
Photo credit: Raphaël Biscaldi