This week I will drop distractions and add morning logs.
(On reflection, I suppose that “drop distractions” really means “add mindfulness”. Often these challenges can be a drop or an add.)
I’ve noticed the past few weeks how often I seek to distract my mind, which is constantly intensely busy. I have always considered myself to be someone who is content in her own company and enjoys the wanderings of thought and imagination. Recently, though, I realise that I am not as comfortable with my thoughts as I believed. In my dropping-internet week, I found it truly difficult to sit and eat a meal without something to occupy my thoughts (e.g. a book or television). I went for a walk this evening with my music playing in my ears, and realised that I was focusing only on the music and how far there was to go, rather than enjoying the beautiful evening. Recently I’ve been going to bed and almost feeling anxious from the way my thoughts have been racing through possible future scenarios.
So, I think I need to relearn how to sit with my thoughts, how to redirect them and how to enjoy them. I need to notice when I am merely doing something because I feel the need to occupy my mind. I want to notice and to drop the distraction and instead sit with my thoughts without any pressure.
A bit more than a month ago, I started a food and wellbeing log. Around the same time, I also restarted an old daily log I used to do for a while. I never gave it a name, but I suppose it could be called an appreciation log. The aim each day is to make two lists, one called “Proud” and the other called “Yay!”. For Proud, I list everything I can be proud of for the day, whether it’s something little like refusing a third chocolate biscuit or something more substantial like helping someone. I am in the habit of focusing on everything I don’t do or should do or should do, so this is a way to reinforce all the positive acts and choices. Yay! is for every good or happy thing, from something as little as a yummy snack to something as big as an unexpected present or a successful assignment. I have found that I need some time to explicitly reinforce these positive things about myself and my life.
However, my old habit of writing these logs every night before bed doesn’t seem to fit as well now, and I am often skipping a night or many nights. Instead, I shall try this week to write in them every morning over breakfast (for the previous day, of course). While I may not be ending my day with positive reinforcement, I will now start each day positively and reflectively. I am hoping that the appreciation log particularly will help the (compltely unnecessary) anxious thoughts that I’ve noticed crowding in this past week. It potentially has the added advantage of helping to develop my new habit of not beginning every day on the computer!