on staying mindful

mind·ful
(ˈmīn(d)fəl) adj.
Being conscious or aware of something.

Mindfulness is a very flighty thing to me. One of the symptoms of bipolar disorder (when will I ever stop talking about this, no?) is flight of ideas. Now that doesn’t sound so bad, right? You get ideas left and right without even having to think about it! But nah, that’s not it; it’s more of having constant racing thoughts in your head, making you jump from one topic or another, or sometimes going off-tangent during conversations, forgetting what you were talking about just a few minutes ago, or even just distracting you by your lonesome, taking you away from what you need to do.

It’s a daily problem for people like me, who need to really concentrate on what they’re doing. If I post the wrong post in any of the accounts I handled (which has happened — I posted a cheese brand in an unrelated juice brand account once) I would be shat on by the highest powers in the land (my clients). There’s also the problem of being mindful enough to foresee what your clients do and don’t want in their content because that would cut back revisions a lot.

The problem with the flight of ideas is the constant assault of thoughts you don’t even want in your head right now. It takes you away from what you need to do. I could be writing down content one second, incredibly concentrated, and then my brain decides, “nope, we’re bored of this, move on.” I then jump into a sea of thoughts populated by various puppies and cats, or I open another tab in my browser and look through reddit threads that add no value to my life whatsoever. This flight of ideas makes me procrastinate a lot and it’s actually pretty damn depressing.

I’ve been doing something about it, though. Instead of playing music, I’ve taken to listening to nature sounds while working. I usually have my headphones on when I work, anyway. It’s actually very relaxing and allows me to concentrate more on what I’m doing, like right now while writing this blog. Aly also recommended Calm, a meditation app. We’ve been using it for a few days and have started meditating at the end of each day. You’d be surprised at how much good a 30-minute body scan session would do for your sanity.

So there, that’s what I do to practice mindfulness. It’s hard, really, harder than people might think. I mean, why not just concentrate, right? But for some people, just focusing on something is a huge challenge enough. But it’s the 21st century, and there’s no excuses for not helping yourself out.

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