We hear it practically every single day of our lives and sometimes more often than once or twice during the day. When we see each other in person, when we call each other on the phone, maybe even when we text each other, one of the most common types of questions involves how we are feeling.
I’m not looking to be controversial, but I have to wonder, how many of us really knows the answer. It seems, in my experience at least, I find myself on ‘automatic pilot’ as I go through my day unless I made a very conscious effort to show up to my own life. I not only go through the physical activities such as waking up, shutting the alarm clock, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, kissing my spouse, reaching for my morning coffee (you get the picture,) but there are even more internal things going on within me that I hardly am present at.
Sometimes it feels as if my brain is just keeps on going and going, like the Ever Ready Bunny, never slowing down at all, just whirring on, like the processor in my computer. The only thing is that my computer always lets me know when it is overheating and needs some time to cool down. Not so with my brain and my emotions. It is such a natural thing for me to just keep going non-stop, without coming up for air. I have to consciously remind myself to get up and move around and reacquaint myself with the moment of life I am in.
If you asked me, I would tell you that I’m doing quite well, I’m okay…I’m fine and more than okay because I am not “feeling” the stress that is piling up all around me. I’m dealing with it, from multi-tasking moment to multi-tasking moment. I am deluding myself into believing I am being highly productive because I am getting ‘all this stuff’ done.
Not really. It may seem as if I am doing more, but actually, I’m not focused and truly accomplishing and producing less. I’m focusing on external distractions (and believe me, there is no end to them). So when the time comes for me to reign myself in and focus on the one thing I really need to do, it is harder and harder all the time.
What’s a gal to do? Enter the double “M” solution. The combination of mindfulness and meditation is something quite remarkable. It helps me isolate the times when I need to focus on what is going on with me internally, my emotions or my thoughts, giving them a time and a place in which I pay particular and intensive attention to them. I acknowledge and accept them by tuning into what is going on with me internally. I become extremely aware of how it feels to breathe and take a deep breath. I become focused on how it feels when I tighten and then release muscles in my arms or legs. I allow myself to devote my energy to myself without having my attention pulled in countless directions.
This 1:1 is just what I need to refresh, rejuvenate and keep my ‘stuff’ in the right place, leaving me with the ability to dedicate all I have to give to the tasks I have to face. I am able to apply myself to what needs to be done and still honor the parts of me that get ignored when I falsely convince myself I am getting so much done. Not only am I freeing myself up to be all I can be, but I’m also teaching myself a new way to honor who I need to be. . . no judgment, just making at least as much time for caring about me as I do for all the things I feel I need to care about.
Such a different way to treat myself than what I’ve known! And it appears to be working out for me because the more I practice this, the more alive I feel and the more I find I am able to check off on my “to do” list each and every day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!