Clearing the bumps for a less distracted mind

Do you ever have one of those days where you hit a bump, and in a split second you are forced to either ignore it and keep plodding along, or you analyse it, get stuck on it, and end up in a downward grumpy spiral the rest of the day? It’s frustrating to say the least. It’s like you have a little stone stuck in your shoe that keeps scratching the floor, bothering you every time you make a move. But you don’t stop to pick it out, because, you know, it’s just a little stone, and who has time for that. 

Often during our day we will hit these little bumps. Someone will do something that frustrates us, a meeting is cancelled, someone forgets a deadline, we hear a bad comment, traffic. Little things that have the potential to set our mood for the remainder of the day. And if we don’t acknowledge our feelings about this bump, all of a sudden it is wedged in our day, dictating our mood and reactions to other situations. Bothering us with every move we make.

So what do we need to do to ensure these bumps don’t hold us back  all day long? Even the tiniest stone can really affect us. We try to move on, and ignore the signs, but it sticks with us. All of a sudden we’re frowning unconsciously, we’re short tempered, we miss the humour in things. We become glass half empty instead of glass half full.

Honestly, the only way to stop it from affecting our behaviour, is to acknowledge it and address it. Acknowledge the feelings you have associated with the situation – anger, frustration, jealousy, regret. Say it allowed if you need to. Then decide if it is urgent and should be addressed immediately. Can you make a decision and put it to bed? If not, that’s okay. Acknowledge the fact that this situation needs further thought, and bookmark it for a later time, when you are ready to focus on that situation. And once you’ve bookmarked it, let it go for the time being. Trust in your process that you will come back to it and deal with it when the time is right. Of course sometimes clearing it from your mind can be easier said than done. Especially if you have a stubborn mind like me.

Only in the past year have I really paid much attention to the workings of the mind, the concept of mindfulness, the importance and meaning of meditation, the trickle effect moments in our day might have. I’m a super newbie, reading, listening to and watching all sorts of content about it all. It’s intriguing stuff! When I think about “calming the mind” I think of Harry Potter, trying to learn occlumency. You know, where Professor Snape attempts to read his mind and his meant to use occlumency to stop him? He’s meant to clear his mind every night before bed. Remove all thoughts and emotions from his mind. And here is where I stand with Harry. It’s incredibly difficult to clear absolutely everything out of your mind! The moment I try, I’m automatically thinking about why I’m not managing to do it, and how am I meant to do it anyway, and oh – what did I get out for dinner? Wait – did I remember to reply to that email?

So instead of trying to think of nothing, clearing my mind in that sense, I found a different method. Focus on one particular thing. Breathing is often an obvious one, but it can be anything. The warmth of the sun on your hands, the sound of birds outside, the stillness of the air. And when I focus all my energy on one thing, I find my mind does actually clear of everything else. It might take two minutes, or it might take 10, but eventually I get there. Interesting huh?

Why don’t you give it a go and tell me what you think. Try clearing your bumps out of your mind today to lessen the number of distractions vying for your attention.

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