Do you feel busy, stressed or overwhelmed on a daily basis?
Do you find it hard to make time for play and rest in the midst of your overfull to-do list? Most of us would probably describe ourselves as busy these days. Sometimes we feel stuck in the rat race, or locked in the daily grind.
Although these phrases point to a not so pleasant state of being, many of us seem strangely drawn to it. We may complain that we’re too busy, but much of the time we don’t make the changes to help us slow down, relax and create space.
Feeling Busy Is a State of Mind
One enlightening thing to know about that feeling of being busy: A lot of the time it’s actually the product of a busy mind. You see, we often feel busy because our minds are distracted and racing. We are doing one thing while thinking about the next thing. We’re not truly present.
This may be why many of us feel so busy so much of the time. Even when our bodies are in one place, our minds are racing ahead to our to-do list giving us that constant feeling that we don’t have enough time to get it all done.
So how can we ease some of this inner pressure?
Well one way is to clear some of your to-do list. This of course can make a huge difference, but for many of us, that is difficult or just not possible.
Another possibility is not to change what you do, but how you do it. Instead of changing your outer circumstances you can focus on overcoming busyness as a state of mind.
To do this, we simply need to change the mind state that leaves us feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Here’s a simple mindfulness practice to settle the mind that has been used for thousands of years all around the world…
A Simple, Powerful, Proven Way to Settle the Mind
The practice is simple—pay attention to the thing you’re doing while you’re doing it. Do one thing at a time—with your full attention.
As soon as you bring your full focus to what you are doing, you become more mindful and your busy state of mind will start to unwind.
Practical Tips for a Calmer Mind in Daily Life
Some helpful tips for this are firstly, if you notice yourself habitually rushing, for example when you make a meal or walk from your car to the house—see if you can adjust your pace slightly, slowing down just a little and being attentive to each step or movement. See if you can enjoy the steps, the movements.
Another great practice when the mind is racing is to simply take a deep breath—and then again, bring your full focus to what you are doing. And do just that one thing—letting everything else go.
It’s worth noting here that multitasking revs up the mind as we flit our attention from task to task. Research shows that we make fewer mistakes and are more productive when we practice unit tasking instead.
Of course unit tasking is the practice of just doing one thing at a time.
Letting Go of Busyness Means More Enjoyment of Your Life
If you start to bring this more focused awareness into your life, you’ll begin to notice a shift in your perception of busyness. Your day may still have a long to-do list and a full calendar but your experience of moving through your day will likely feel more enjoyable, relaxed and you can enjoy the process of getting everything done. And that matters because, hey after all, life isn’t a to-do list, it’s meant to be enjoyed.