Finding mindfulness with a distracted mind

Mindfulness. A word we hear quite frequently in recent years. It’s something that has been suggested to me frequently, but I wasn’t very good at getting into it.

It’s not that I was against the concept of it all. It always looked like a fantastic idea on paper. Sit, practice breath work, re-programme your thoughts, relax.

Easy, right?. Except it’s not easy. In fact, everything I just mentioned is something I struggle to do.

I suffer from both ADHD and anxiety, so my mind is generally in full speed twenty-four seven. I have overactive dreams too, so my mind is constantly busy. For the creative side of me, this is an advantage, I’m always coming up with new ideas and stories. But it’s not a good thing when I want to relax, be positive and free my mind space.

I did everything I was supposed to do…

I got a Yoga app on my phone, I brought relaxing music CDs, I even downloaded the calm app.

The Calm sleep stories are fantastic, but they only worked on me for about 3 nights before my brain then just listened to a full 30-45 minutes of a story, then started thinking ‘have you ever wondered what would happen if you bumped into that guy who’s photo you accidentally liked last year?’ and the cycle starts again.

So, what can you do when your brain won’t let you focus?

It took me a long time to realise this, but what a distracted mind needs is quite simple: a timed structure.

You need to start with small chunks. Your mind needs to get used to it, don’t just suddenly try and spend half an hour meditating with clear headspace.

Here are the things I started doing to get my distracted mind into a good headspace;

A brief effective morning routine is the first key step.

Turning the ‘snooze’ off on my alarm. Turning this function off makes it easier to just get up straight away. No one wants the anxiety of falling back to sleep and being late. It also stops my mind being so ‘groggy’ when I’m trying to wake myself up 9 snoozes later.

80 seconds of exercise. To get my body pumping, I do a quick exercise on a timer of 80 seconds. This can be squats, sit-ups, anything that gets my body moving a little.

Focused breath-work. for 5 minutes, sit still and focus on breathing. Calm has a really good tool on it to help you breathe to a routine. My mind does tend to wander after about 20 seconds, but that’s okay. I just acknowledge that my mind wandered and reign it back in.

Positive affirmations in the mirror. This sounds funny I know, but a recent psychotherapist I had taught me this. See the good in yourself and have faith in what you’re doing.

I try to do the affirmations in the mirror in the morning and at night before bed. Recently it has been difficult because of my depression but it’s a practice I need to try and stick to.

Also, attempting some meditation before bed too can be beneficial to help relax the mind.

I find the above practices really help me, they can make a difference to my day and how my mind is functioning. These really make a difference to my mindset and vibrations.

If you have a busy mind, go ahead and give these a try yourself!

2 comments

  1. For the longest time I’ve tried to get myself to sit down and do some breathwork, but I could never make it a daily or even a regular practice. I completely gave it up at some point. But I will take this post as a sign and start again. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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