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5 Reasons You're Having a Hard Time Being Mindful - Mindful

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https://www.mindful.org/5-reasons-youre-hard-time-mindful/

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5 Reasons You're Having a Hard Time Being Mindful - Mindful
Think your brain just isn't made for mindfulness? Think again. Busy mind, scattered focus, more to do than you can handle? Join the club. Every time I talk about mindfulness, I hear: "My brain is way too busy to be mindful." "My ADD is so bad; I just can't focus."

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Understanding mindfulness

One of the reasons mindfulness seems hard is the fact that you don't understand it. Mindfulness doesn't mean perfect focus and happiness at all times.

Mindfulness is about choosing to...

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Be curious

If you want to get better at practicing mindfulness, don't forget to be curious.

Sometimes the details of daily life aren’t all that enjoyable. Traffic is boring, and your colleague at wor...

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Don't set unrealistic expectations

If you're struggling with mindfulness, maybe you’re making it bigger than it needs to be.

You can notice a wandering mind in the shower or while you’re drinking your coffee. You can take a...

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Your mood matters

Don't practice being mindful only when you're upset.

While mindfulness can certainly be helpful in difficult moments, our brains have a hard time learning or doing something new when they’re ...

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Ask for support

Our brains are wired to think, worry, remember, predict, plan, and regret. Mindfulness asks us to swim against the tide of these mental habits. 

We need support in this practice, with...

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Mindfulness at work

Mindfulness at work

Means being consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state. 

If you’re writing a report, mindfulness requires...

1 min/session

That’s the minimum required for a mini-mediation.

Just focus on your sense. You don’t need to close your eyes. You don’t even need to be sitting down.

Use Mindful Reminders

You can use interruptions as hooks to make you more mindful.

Every time your phone rings, take a mindful breath. Every time you hear the ping of a text message, pause to be mindful of your surroundings rather than immediately reacting by checking the message. 

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Think like Sherlock Holmes

“What Sherlock Holmes offers isn’t just a way of solving a crime. It is an entire way of thinking."

"Holmes provides... an education in improving our faculty of mindful thought...

Engagement

As children, we are remarkably aware to the world around us. This attention wanes over time as we allow more pressing responsibilities to attend to and demands on our minds to address. And as the demands on our attention increase so, too, does our actual attention decrease.

 As it does so, we become less and less able to know or notice our own thought habits and more and more allow our minds to dictate our judgments and decisions, instead of the other way around.

Pitfalls of the Untrained Brain

Daniel Kahneman believes there are two systems for organizing and filtering knowledge: 

  • System one is real-time. This system makes judgments and decisions before our mental apparatus can consciously catch up. 
  • System two, on the other hand, is a slow process of thinking based on critical examination of evidence. Konnikova refers to these as System Watson and System Holmes.

To move from a System Watson- to a System Holmes-governed thinking takes mindfulness plus motivation.

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Anxiety is rewarding

Each time we worry and nothing bad happens, our mind connects worry with preventing harm:

Worry → nothing bad happens.

And the takeaway is, "It's a good thing I worried."&nbs...

Beliefs about worry

  • If I worry, I'll never have a bad surprise.
  • It's safer if I worry. We believe that the act of worrying itself somehow lowers the likelihood of a dreaded outcome. 
  • I show I care by worrying. We need to distinguish between caring about a situation and worrying needlessly and fruitlessly about it. 
  • Worrying motivates me. We need to differentiate between unproductive worry and productive concern and problem solving.
  • Worrying helps me solve problems. Extreme worry is more likely to interfere with problem-solving. 

Tools to assist us with worry

  • Calm the nervous system with guided muscle relaxation, meditation, and exercise. 
  • Notice when you're worrying and any beliefs that reinforce worry.  Awareness of the process gives us more choice in how we respond.
  • Embrace uncertainty. Most of the things we care about in life involve uncertainty. It takes considerable practice to begin to embrace it.
  • Live in the present. Practice focusing your attention on the present in everyday activities like taking a shower, walking, or talking with a friend, as well as in more formal practices like meditation or yoga.
  • When we face our fears head-on, they tend to diminish. Deliberately accept what you're afraid of: "It's possible I'll miss my flight."