Every summer at our house, we go through the entire house, top to bottom, and get rid of things that are no longer necessary to us. The kids go through their toys, papers, dvds, clothing--everything! And we do the same. When we are done, our home is lighter and delightfully decluttered! Then we are better able to tackle the daily clutter more easily.
Did you know we have to declutter our consciousness, too? We certainly do! There are things coming up every day for us to look at, understand, forgive and release! As we do this decluttering, we are lighter on the inside and better able to make choices that are clear and support us.
Here are five tools for your inner de-cluttering that you can use daily, and enjoy the fresh air that peace of mind brings!
1. Meditate. For five minutes a day (at a consistent time and location), observe the thoughts that go through your mind. Don’t push them away, judge them, or feel ashamed; just notice what they are saying to you and let them pass.
2. Journal. Write about the time during the day when you felt frustrated, hurt, sad or angry. What were you feeling and thinking? Get to know your reactions and look for a pattern in them. Writing about your feelings can help you understand when to back off, and when to stand up for yourself.
3. Forgive. Jane Elizabeth Hart’s Seven Steps for Successful Life Transitions is an excellent forgiveness method. Unforgiveness balls you up in body, mind and expression, while forgiveness frees you to experience more overall joy.
4. Use difficult people to learn about your hidden issues. Take that guy at the office that grinds you like fingers down a chalkboard. Get your journal and list all the qualities and behaviors about him that bug you. Ask yourself who this person represents to you. You can learn a lot about what is blocking you from your potential by embracing those you find difficult to be around. Forgive them even if you don’t know what it is that you don’t like. The health benefits of this action alone will be worth your effort.
5. Trust yourself above all others. The best spiritual teachers out there will encourage you to listen to your own inner promptings. As you watch your own thinking and journal out your feelings, you will begin to understand more about who you are. This is a wonderful and scary thing! Trust that your inner wisdom will reveal itself and support you as you work to resolve fear and false beliefs.
Sad news for all of us multitaskers out there: We’re not as effective as we think we are.
Recently on NPR’s Science Friday, Clifford Nass, professor of communication at Stanford University, discussed the benefits of multitasking. Bottomline: There aren’t any.
Here are some interesting highlights from the interview:
Here’s the interesting part: Nass says,
“The research is almost unanimous…people who chronically multitask show an enormous range of deficits. They're basically terrible at all sorts of cognitive tasks, including multitasking…People who multitask all the time can't filter out irrelevancy. They can't manage a working memory. They're chronically distracted. They initiate much larger parts of their brain that are irrelevant to the task at hand. And they're even terrible at multitasking. When we ask them to multitask, they're actually worse at it. So they're pretty much mental wrecks.”
So, once we convince ourselves that this is indeed true, what can we do to support ourselves being effective and present?
Mindfulness meditation, a Westernized form of Zen Buddhist meditation, has been shown to help focus, memory and the ability to handle multiple jobs at once. One study showed that people trained in mindfulness meditation, versus those in the study who weren’t, stayed on tasks longer and made fewer switches between tasks, as well as experiencing less negative emotion when they were done. Improved memory was an additional benefit to those in the meditating groups.
Here's what you can to for your own multitask recovery:
Take 15 minutes each day to still your mind. Even if you don’t feel successful, you will be making great progress in retraining your mind to focus, concentrate and listen for divine ideas. Anything you do for those 15 minutes that allows you to think of as few things as possible will benefit your practice. You can listen to music and try to focus on the sounds rather than thoughts. You could watch a candle flame, focusing on the dancing flame instead of the many thoughts going through your mind. Some people like to listen to a guided meditation and follow along with the visualization. Other people like to use a mantra or affirmation that gives them a single idea upon which to focus. There is no wrong way to do it, as long as you find something that allows you to be as still as possible.
Turn off Facebook, email, talk radio, television and your busy mind; and gain the benefits of focus and being present with yourself!
Lynn Barrette, LCSW Blending psychology with spirituality, I offer tools for forgiveness, acceptance, meditation and relaxation, and positive parenting solutions.