Adulting and Anxiety: My "Just" Moments...
The opening question from Bryan Robinson’s Forbes article, How To Steer Your Mind Back Into The Present Moment Amid Pandemic Anxiety, made me uncomfortable:
How often are you in fast-forward motion trying to get to the good stuff—heading for the nirvana of pleasure and skipping over what’s happening now?
The question made me uncomfortable because I didn’t like my answer.
I’m constantly letting my mind wander as I rush to complete more mundane tasks. Just the other day, I stepped out of the shower, stopped for a second, and then questioned whether I washed my feet. Clearly, I’m not living in the moment.
Robinson reminds readers that our minds are said to stray 47% of the time, and it’s not beneficial:
When your mind wanders, you’re more stressed out and unhappy than when you stay in the here and now. The Harvard scientists report that people are happier—no matter what they’re doing even working overtime, vacuuming the house or sitting in traffic—if they are focused on the activity instead of thinking about something else.
I believe it. My mind is a constant swirl of thoughts. And not like a chocolate and vanilla swirl cone. That would be too organized and neat. Mine is more a vortex, and I realize I need to slow down. But just like my whirling, quick-paced mind, I want to HURRY UP and be intentional and get myself back on track at a slower pace. Yesterday.
Do you see the problem with my thoughts?
A friend who is a life coach issued a challenge to a group of us. She asked us to eat meals intentionally. Take 20 minutes. Focus on the food’s taste and beauty and texture, she said. Focus on our chewing.
“How? How?” I dramatically asked, already feeling overwhelmed by 20 whole minutes without multitasking.
“Just do one meal, Gina.” That is what she told me.
Her voice was so patient. And while she channeled those Harvard researchers, whether she realized it or not, she gave me the key to slowing my life down with the word “just.”
Can I be present for just one meal? Or just a few minutes? Or just during my shower? Or just while I’m waiting in the car in the parking lot? Yes, I can. I start with small changes. I don’t tackle them all at once.
And I find that it is doable. And I find myself treasuring these “just” moments.
Then, I can move on to enjoy further, greater victories. Slowly.