I was reading an article about the brain, it was all about how the brain is not equipped to multi-task. Then, I remembered a conversation I had with my daughter about her New Year’s resolution:
“Focus more and to block out distractions”.
She felt that she spent too much time reading various websites, taking in information from blogs, news headlines, and a variety of news sources, to the point it became a virtual news-knowledge-information fire hydrant slamming her in the mind. She said while all this information was interesting, it seemed to keep her from actually “doing” anything”. So instead of finishing the “Brain:” article I was reading I immediately e-mailed the website to her. What the!
No, that ain’t right!
I realized, I was doing precisely what she was trying to stop. I was attempting to give her yet, another distraction and a the same time I was distracting myself by not focused on the article at hand. My mind took off on it’s own trying to be in 10 places at once. Even now, at this minute, I just heard the dryer in my apartment stop and my mind is saying, “get up and get the clothes out of the dryer before they wrinkle!” And yet, I know that my mind is simply creating thoughts that I really do not need to pay attention to.
My conscious mind is always creating havoc! There is always drama going on in there! Thoughts filled with negative messages that may or may not help me get through the day. Negative thinking. Thoughts that do not benefit me, making me the “victim”. A Ha! the “Brain” article says, one of the symptoms of multi-tasking too much is “negative” thinking. See! Here is proof!
The voice was a woman’s and it was filled with emotion and cracking with the urgency of someone in distress. She had been referred to me by a friend and she was pacing in a parking lot, smoking and in need of some kind of comfort. She was filled with adrenaline and she wanted relief! Man, was her mind racing as she was trying to describe the problems she faced. Her tongue could not keep up with all the negative thinking that was bombarding her. She was definitly a victim of her wild mind’s thoughts, and she wanted help….right now!
I told her,
“The first step you can take is to calm down.” Hard to do but it is possible if you understand the emotional process.
Something bad happened.
Someone or something made this happen.
It will continue to happen unless you calm down.
The only way to change about these circumstances is to take control of your own mind.
Because you cannot change anyone else, the only thing you can change is YOU.
So you need to witness, recognize and observe your thoughts.
Before you can focus your attention, you need to take charge of your negative emotional wild thoughts (worry, anger, sadness, irritation).
This is your wild mind, and it impairs and overwhelms your pre-frontal cortex, the brain’s driver. When your driver is impaired you can’t make sense of your thoughts. You can not come to solutions and you have impaired decision making.
Too many negative thoughts and stress damages your ability to focus and it harms your health. You can change that outcome by taking control of your mind. Recognize the negative thinking, re-frame thoughts to control the outcome. For instance, if your thoughts are telling you, “My family is against me, I am the victim of their accusations! You can re-frame to say, “These accusations are false, I will present myself and my mind in a rational way to prove them to be wrong”.
How do you get there? How do you take control of your “wild” thoughts? You can employ the same things that improve your health.
Breathe! Sleep well, exercise, do a mindfulness practice, take some time to notice what you are doing in this very moment. When you control your thoughts you will control your brain.
First step? Stop being distracted, focus on one task at a time. Finish that task and then take on another. In other words stop the distractions, and focus. Because when you organize your life and focus on what needs to be done right now. You will benefit because your mind will be clear, less stressed and ready for the next task. Your mind will become more orderly as well.
The payoff is that you will be in control, of your life and your mind. Why not be the “captain” of your own life the master of your thoughts!