I’ve always been impulsive. I am the action girl! Don’t think, just act, react! It served me so well most of my life… in high school I was involved in sports, clubs + activities and in college was always pioneering the next adventure with my friends. It was easy to be impulsive. I got a lot of stuff done. But now that I’m officially “adulting” (our definition of adulting is becoming parents, that’s when I really had to get it together)… so now in this phase of life, being impulsive is not such a fun trait. In fact it is down right debilitating. It’s not cool to be impulsive when you have two little humans who are way more reactive, spontaneous, irrational + crazy than you who have more of a right to be than you! Now it looks more like legit ADD.
I’ve realized my natural impulsive-ness coupled with my action-oriented personality is a perfect storm especially within this age of distraction… phones are constantly ruling our lives. Beeps, pings, alarms, vibrates and little bubble sounds are demanding our attention RIGHT NOW! Plus as a parent your sleep is just not the same, you are not getting the same amount or quality of sleep you got as a single person with less responsibilities, Its just a a fact.
So, with all of that- you can see its a recipe for extreme scatter brain! There are days where I get stuff done… like real stuff (cooking, cleaning, laundry, making sure everyone is fed and clean, lunches packed, feeding myself, exercising, and working on my side projects)… but a lot of days I have a million half finished tasks. I told Aaron last night, “I don’t feel like I complete anything” and he didn’t really say anything. Shoot.
I know we are our worst critics and can be hard on ourselves, but I think there is something to address here. This idea of distraction and high standards. We are all faced with some form of this: distractions are everywhere- its the nature of life in America these days + high standards are being fed to us through social media all the time. We are constantly getting input from our social media feeds that impact how we feel / what we think we want. As a result of scrolling through any social media feed, magazine in line at the grocery store or anywhere you look really we are bombarded with very high standards of being. So we have less focus and want to achieve more. Not good for me! There’s just too much damn input.
So, how to tame the scattered brain? If you guys have been reading my blog for a while you may already know what I’m going to say: MINDFULNESS!
Ha! I know I feel like a preacher who is not practicing! It is very very very challenging to consistently practice mindfulness. I hear it from my clients and my friends, but there has to be a way out of this dissatisfaction. Here are a few ideas:
Practice having less. Doing less. Wanting less. Enjoy more of what you already have, where you already are instead of wishing for the next thing. There are great resources on getting rid of “stuff” that can be energetically holding you back. I love the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or the documentary on Netflix called Minimalism.
There are some quick, concrete ways to practice this. First, try enacting the “5 senses” by just taking a minute to become keenly aware of your surroundings in the present moment. Look at the space only 1 ft in front of your body, smell deeply with your nose, listen to every little sound, touch the material right in front of you. Pretend this is the last time you might have any of your senses. Bring your attention to this very moment. And just be still. That’s all. You can also try the 3 Minute Breathing exercise (more exercises like this at positivepsychologyprogram.com)
- The first minute is spent on answering the question, “how am I doing right now?”, while focusing on the feelings, thoughts and sensations that arise and trying to give these words and phrases.
- The second minute is spent on keeping awareness on the breath.
- The last minute is used for an expansion of attention from solely focusing on the breath, feeling the in’s and out’s and how they affect the rest of the body.
These are power statements to help bring your subconscious into presence. Make up your own. Listen to your inner guide by simply asking yourself “if I knew the perfect mantra for this situation, what would it be?” and then…. wait. Wait for the answer from your inner voice. Listen. Here is one that my sister-in-law Ashley provided me:
It is safe to let go
Release all expectations
Your heart is your greatest gift
from it you set your intentions
Breath in: ” I Let go” Breath out: “I release”
Multi-tasking is no fun. I suck at it. Instead try to mono-task: implement some good old fashioned tunnel vision! Instead of looking at the whole project and trying to furiously work on all pieces at once, take one piece and complete it fully. Then move on to the next piece. This is especially helpful for me as a Mama. I feel like I start a ton of things but then someone hits someone else with a drumstick, or someone locks someone in a closet or someone decorates the dog with acrylic paint… I mean you know how it goes! So instead of trying to do an entire project only to get interrupted, try just doing one piece of the whole project. For example, we are renovating bedroom closets and the one in Everly’s room is finished and now I want to clean it out and put her stuff in there. Instead of taking everything out all at once, I took one box out. I put that box out of reach from the kiddos, went through it, cleaned it out and put it in its new home. If I have more time, I can tackle the next bit. Woo! Thanks for Aaron for that one ; ) his special ed training is really coming in handy with me.
This one is important. A scattered brain is a reflection of the environment around you. De-clutter your working space, your kitchen, your home + just make space. When your environment is organized you can access the things you need. Same with your brain, get rid of the “I wish I had….” or “I wish we were doing…..” or “I should be /have/ …” and replace with “I AM”. If you can train your brain to appreciate the things you already are then you make space for appreciation and gratitude. Peace always follows ❤️
What do you guys do to tame the scattered brain??