The Zombie Life
I had just given birth to my (now 25 year old) daughter. I was young, in over my head, and in a constant state of stress. What if we don’t have enough money? My job doesn’t offer health insurance, now what? I have to move, where will we live? This set off a 10-year streak of going through life completely numb and robot like, living life on autopilot. I missed so many special moments because my defense mechanism wouldn’t allow me to feel. I finally reached the tipping point and luckily, I was able to take back control of my thoughts. Once I had control of my thoughts, I took back control of my life, career and relationships.
Have you ever watched your favorite reality TV show only to realize you had eaten through a whole bag of salt and vinegar chips? Or how about driving to work. Or you get to work in a dazed. Hmmm, how did I get here so fast? This type of behavior is called mindlessness. We all do it, but it’s bad for your brain. Yes, even those good daydreams.
Staying mindful and in the now takes practice. Regularly letting your mind wander may feel like it’s harmless, but it actually leads towards awful feelings like fear and regret. Take back control of your mind and work to stay in the here and now.
“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component to mental health.” – Abraham Maslow
How To Get More Joy
Harvard research found that those who stayed in the moment where happier, even if the moment wasn’t pleasant. They could easily find joy. Researchers found that living life on autopilot not only effects your mood, it also keeps you from connecting to the world around you. You miss out on real-life daily living. That just piles on more stress.
When you go through life thoughtlessly, it feels like time is speeding up. But it’s actually shortening your life span. Remember, it’s not your car that’s on autopilot, it’s you. Take back control of your life. Living life in the present is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
“Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do, if you stay in the present moment.” – Deepak Chopra
- You can practice anywhere. You don’t need a special place and time. Just find a space you can sit in silence. Dogs aren’t barking. Kids aren’t banging on your door. Husband isn’t mowing the front lawn. You get the idea.
- Once you find quiet, your mind will still be going a thousand miles a minute. Don’t try to control your thoughts. Allow them to come and go without judgment. The goal is to focus on the present moment. Notice your breath and concentrate on breathing in and out.
- Allow your mind to wander. You will likely drift into a memory of the past or even daydreams of the future. Your brain will take you everywhere but in the now. This is where the challenge comes and strength perseveres. This brain building exercise will help your conscious awareness realize your mind has wandered. This gives you the control back to bring your mind to the present.
- The judgmental ego will do everything it can to interrupt your practice. When you recognize these criticizing thoughts you can decide with clarity what is real and what is not. Your ego likes to feed you garbage. Be sure to return it.
- Bringing your attention to the present moment is the goal. Our overstimulated minds are wired to drift away. This is where breath comes into play. When you find yourself wandering, go back to the sensation of your breath. Every time you reinforce the action of focusing on your breath, you are making your mindset muscle grow stronger.
Take 5 Minutes a Day
- Take a seat
- Set a time limit
- Make note of your body
- Feel your breath
- Recognize a wandering mind.
- Don’t judge your thoughts.