One thing’s for sure, our minds are busy. We are easily distracted from the moment and oftentimes absent all together. It’s okay to admit it. It’s actually liberating. It’s not your fault. We’ve been conditioned to be busy — really busy. We’re taught to do, do, do. We’re not taught how to simply “be.”
The good news is that you can train yourself to “be here now.” Mindfulness practices train us to get stronger at “being” and better at noticing when we’re distracted and absent.
I’ve been practicing mindfulness meditation for over a decade and am unabashedly enthusiastic about this type of mental strength training and its powerful benefits. I talk about mindfulness meditation in my latest podcast, Your Busy Mind, and write about it extensively in my book.
In order to understand how to be mindful, it’s helpful to know what your busy mind is so busy doing. Here’s a snapshot of some common traits. Check out my podcast episode for more.
Traits of Your Busy Mind
Sloppy Brain – You forget appointments, drop stuff, unconsciously make silly/stupid mistakes, bump into doors, trip, etc.
Overdoing – You try to multitask, squeeze too many activities into one hour, keep pushing yourself to complete tasks without pausing to recover.
Crazy Busy – It feels like you are driving on a mental highway in busy traffic. You try to hold too many tasks, appointments, conversations, and problems in your mind at one time. You feel like you’re speeding even though you may be sitting still.
Autopilot – You go through the motions without paying attention, like driving home from work while thinking about your next vacation or eating lunch without noticing what you’re eating. Your experience feels dull and muted.
Info Overload – You feel exhausted and drained from outer noise, technology, and visual stimulation. You feel foggy and unable to focus with sharp attention. You’re not able to engage in what you’re doing.
Don’t fret about your busy mind. Remember, everyone you pass on the road and greet in stores has one too. Understanding what your busy mind is so busy doing is a powerful tool. Start to recognize the traits mentioned above. Name them and smile. Information is a powerful motivator.
Getting to know your busy mind is a great first step in mindfulness training. Notice when you’re sloppy, speedy, dull or absent. This strengthens your capacity to pay attention. Notice what you’re “doing” and you’ll learn how to “be.”