A Mind Full of…
You know you’ve been there, probably on an almost daily basis. Standing in line, waiting to pay. Sitting in traffic, waiting to drive. Standing at the sink, washing a stack of bottles. Making yet another trip to the washer or dryer. Sitting in a meeting, willing time to pass more quickly. Making yet another trip to your kid’s room at night. Redialing the doctor, waiting for the busy signal or automated message to stop. Most likely, you’ve experienced some form and degree of negativity, be it annoyance, frustration, anger, boredom, anxiety, desperation, etc.
I used to squeeze the wheel and grit my teeth as I sat in traffic on 95N during my commute home. Panic would grip my mind if I ever saw 5 p.m. staring back at me on the dashboard clock; how could I possibly creep the last few miles before daycare closed? At home, my mind went numb as I stood at the sink and washed sippy cup after sippy cup. That is, until I attended a mindfulness workshop for professional development. The instructor said something along the lines of how we need to make and take time to consciously refill our mind in a positive way. She explained how simple and meaningful the process could be, describing how on a daily basis, we could zone out the negative stress and zone in on something beautiful, wondrous, calming, etc. that accompanied whatever we were presently doing.
I didn’t encounter traffic that afternoon after the workshop, but that night, as I washed sippy cups, I zoned in on watching the bubbles. I wasn’t bored by the task of rinsing; I was intrigued and soothed by the colors and shapes that the rinsing involved. Weeks later, my eyes wandered off to a scenic overlook I had never before noticed during my slow commute. I wondered how I could walk up there, instead of freaking out about the ticking minutes on the clock.
A Fuller Mind
Our daily lives are filled with moments that test our emotional well-being. We’re not going to be able to calmly approach everything in life, but we can actively train our minds with calming techniques. So, the next time you find yourself participating in some type of waiting game or seemingly bothersome task, let your mind wander to a happier place. See what you discover about yourself and the world. As a result you just might observe a stunning sunset, strike up a conversation with a stranger, or just breathe a little easier.