By Sunny Simon
When my friend Cathy phoned and said she was not attending the New Year’s Eve party, I was perplexed. Cathy is a fun-loving extrovert who loves to socialize and have a good time. My friend sadly explained the reason for her absence was of a physical nature. In a clumsy moment she tripped over a cord in her office and fell breaking her right shoulder and left kneecap. Ouch! When I inquired if she was in a hurry when the stumble took place, Cathy admitted she had no excuse other than lack of attention to her movements.
Certainly accidents happen but the root cause of most can be attributed to a human factor. In our hectic life pace we are overwhelmed with information overload and easily become distracted. The onslaught of messages continually telegraphed to our busy brains can drive us from a singular focus resulting in thinking about one thing while attempting to accomplish another. Our cultural label for it is multitasking, but let’s gets serious people; we all know the term is merely a deception. Trying to divide our attention between two tasks at once is futile. In his book, “The Myth of Multitasking: How Doing it All Gets Nothing Done,” author Dave Crenshaw illustrates in the form of a modern day fable that multitasking actually damages productivity and relationships at work and at home.
I agree with Crenshaw. To establish a more peaceful existence, we must reduce distractions. The solution is to practice mindfulness which according to clinical psychologist Dr. Elisha Goldstein is, “the ability to intentionally pay attention to the present moment without our filters of judgment (good/bad, right/wrong, fair/unfair.) The art of being mindful is not rocket science, but incorporating any good habit into our day-to-day activities, takes practice.
If you mentally launch into a laundry list of everything you need to accomplish the moment you open your eyes each morning, it’s time to make some adjustments. Start the day by calming your mind with slow, deep breathing for a few minutes before letting your feet hit the ground. Check in with yourself periodically throughout the day. Are you running on autopilot or practicing awareness and staying in the moment? If you are feeling tense, reel yourself back in by observing a silent moment.
None of us can totally eliminate stress; however it is possible to respond to pressures in a calm manner by being fully present. Keep working at it. I promise you it will reduce accidents, increase clarity of mind and improve your zest for life.
Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at www.raisethebarhigh.com