Tag Archives: Mindfulness

Happiness Project Update 25: I’m Still Keeping The Snooze Button

15 May

Apparently everyone has a set of inherent rules that help them get through the day. Sometimes you’ve had them so long you don’t even remember making the list, you just keep the rules because they have been working for you … sort of.

And then it hits you … you’re the female version of George Costanza except you’re in your thirties and  you’ve got hair. Gray hair, a multitude of gray sneaking in, the bad kind. The stressful kind. So maybe you need to examine these rules a bit closer. Part of this whole Happiness Project challenge involves mindfulness and I couldn’t go forward without examining some of my rules.

Image via happiness-project.com

Image via happiness-project.com

I know I’m a Chapstick type of chick, but I’m still a complex human being. I’ve got layers. So my list was a little long. But I narrowed down the rules that could use some tweaking. But could I? I’ve had them for a while. They were rules, right? Dude … then I realized. This is not Monopoly, you can totally change the rules. These were the contenders.

Hit the snooze button.

Finish the to-do list.

Hurry. Hurry. Hurry.

Calm down.

At first they seem pretty good. Finishing my to-do list was necessary. It gave me umph! at the end of the day. A high-five for crossing everything off my list. Victorious at the end of a very tiring day. And of course I had to be in hurry, how else could I finish the list. Hurry to be on time. Hurry to finish working out. Hurry reading this book. Hurry  I only had 24 hours. But then I thought if I had all these things to do why would I hit the snooze button in the mornings? It’s just taking time away from finishing the list. Am I sleeping longer? Yes, but then I’m in a hurry because I snoozed it. Then there’s the calm down, effect. I realized that sometimes you need to feel a little rage. Case in point my run-in with the personal space hijackers at the beach. Calming down is not necessarily what you want to hear or feel at the time. Just feel it. Repressing emotions just lead to crazy later.

That is what I learned after a brief review.

But the most eye-opening examination happened to be the one that Gretchen Rubin gave me. Apparently she agreed with me about the hurry, hurry, hurry. It’s not very constructive and it’s probably more stressful. So she gave me an idea.

Instead of hurry, hurry, hurry. Try “I have plenty of time for the things that are important to me,” even if I hit the snooze button.

“By questioning my True Rules instead of applying them unthinkingly, I could make sure I applied them only when they’d guide me to decisions that reflected my true priorities … By mindfully deciding how to act in line with my values instead of mindlessly applying my rules, I was better able to make the decisions that supported my happiness.” — Gretchen Rubin

And so with this advice I added a few new rules to my list courtesy of Rubin’s chapter on mindfulness in hopes that more happiness and less craziness comes pouring in.

 

First thing is first (as in when the plane is going down, grab the oxygen mask and put it on yourself first before helping anybody else … you can’t help if you’re not breathing).

Down with boredom.

Get some work done everyday.

Choose the bigger life.

People succeed in groups.

 

But I’m still keeping the snooze button, sometimes you really need it.

Happiness Project Update 24: Stopping the Autopilot

15 Apr

I thought that multitasking was a good thing. I’m a chick, we need to multitask. There’s only 24 hours in the day and we need at least 30 to get everything done. I know I do. But I realized that sometimes multitasking can suck the life out of you. Suck it!

No, it’s not the stress of  not finishing. No, not the anxiety that comes with failing to cross off items from your to-do list. No, it sucks the life out of you because sometimes you stay on autopilot and miss out on life. I found myself trying to pay bills online, wash the dishes, get distracted by to-do list thoughts, and have breakfast with my kids all at the same time. Then it sort of hit me while I was doing my 21-day Meditation Challenge last month.  I thought … what a jackass. If someone was doing all those things while I was trying to have a meal with them I’d be pretty burned out. I realized … multitasking kills my mindfulness.

I needed to start being in the now, being present. Now in my defense, when I’m out on adventures, exercising, or hanging out I am fully present. But sometimes I have technical difficulties, usually when I’m at home. Usually when multitasking arises. My mom ambition takes over and the mission to accomplish everything on the to-do list gets a kung-fu grip on me. It’s a mission and I need to finish it.

Image via happiness-project.com

Image via happiness-project.com

But that whole 21-Day Meditation Challenge really honed in my focus and my appreciation of “the moment,” it forced me to stay still, and it also reinforced what I read in Gretchen Rubin‘s mindfulness chapter.

Now I understand that I have to get things done and that life moves pretty quickly, especially if you’ve got two kids and you’re the CEO, CFO, Managing Partner and custodian of the household. Things sort of move at the speed of light sometimes and you’re doing whatever you can to catch up. So you go on autopilot, but I realized that sometimes autopilot draws out the jackass in me and I miss moments, stuff like breakfast with my kids. Now mind you sometimes breakfast may include syrup in someone’s hair, pancakes on the floor, spilled milk, battles for the last sip of the orange juice or toasting up bagels only to realize that there’s no cream cheese. Yes morning chaos may ensue, but sometimes you have a moment — the kind of moment that you remember at the end of the day — the kind that makes it to the what-am-I-grateful-for-today answer list. Mindfulness helps you remember that you’re probably going to have very few meals in the future where the kids won’t be multitasking, texting, and ignoring you as they are dashing out the door.

So what did I do when the universe sent me the mindfulness message twice?

Well … I paid attention. I shut down the autopilot and paid attention. I closed the computer, left the dishes alone and joined in at the Frosted Mini-Wheats and Silver Dollar Pancake extravaganza.

The most important was mindfulness — the cultivation of conscious, non-judgmental awareness … it gives clarity and vividness to present experience … Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project.

I realized that mindfulness can help boost your happiness levels a bit, and I could always use a shot of that. Being in the present definitely helps you enjoy daily life a bit more, especially when you have something out of the ordinary take place. You’re there to witness it, all of it. Now that doesn’t mean I would stop multitasking, but it did mean that I would stop the autopilot when hanging out with my kids. I’d be in the moment and forget about the to-do list until my kids were actually engaged in something else. Play-Doh and Legos usually rock their world, so I would save the multitasking until then.

So here’s to mindfulness … for taking the jackass out of me.