On the Road to Being More Mindful

The concept of living more mindfully, or the practice of giving great thought to your actions and interactions, even the smallest and most mundane, is thought to have a very positive impact on a person’s overall well-being and happiness. Of course, giving great thought to things requires a mind that is capable of staying put, which unfortunately isn’t what the ADHD brain does. Is it, therefore, impossible for the ADHD mind to be mindful? Are we to be denied this magical mindful well-being?

Or is there hope…

When my mind does settle down and contemplates things, I recall life before the internet. When processing information was slow because the rate at which information was transmitted was slow, relatively speaking. I thought of comparing the process to taking a shower versus a bath. The internet, and I am aware I could unplug, except I can’t because I work on the web… so, the internet is like taking a shower. The rate of delivery is fast and the water doesn’t stick around very long before continuing down the drain. Except that in my case, I routinely forget to remove the plug and everything overflows, causing anxiety, usually over things most people wouldn’t bother about. When I remove the plug, everything goes, including important information like where I parked the car, or what bills I needed to pay. Consider then, a bath, where there is a reasonable amount of water to deal with at a time and you have a decent amount of time to stew and think about what’s around you.

In any case, like water down the drain, both the interesting worthwhile information and the random chaff seem to slip away. And, since it seems that time is passing faster than ever before, I feel like the time is right to increase mindfulness and slow things down a bit.

This idea was brought on by NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month, during which, you’re supposed to write a poem every day to participate. There’s also a blog month and a novel- centric month. I don’t think quantity is preferable over quality, but I think there is something to taking one or two of the things that catch my attention, although ever so briefly, and taking some time to reflect and write and hopefully, in the process become more mindful in general.

During a philosophy class in college, my teacher once said that the average person never spent more than two minutes thinking about any one thing. If my mind so wishes, it can spend hours hashing over a single concept ad-nauseum. Mostly about things I did years ago. Events over and done with that replay in my head, as if I can change history by sheer will. And then, there’re times when I can’t think for more than 2 seconds about any train of thought. And I have to really work at controlling this.

There is no magic to changing behavior. It’s all about practice. I’ll admit that the last few years have been about reaction and trying to keep up with everything. And, it’s a struggle.

So I wonder, maybe the key to being more mindful, and a better writer, and a better person in general, more at peace with myself, is to practice catching ideas and reflecting long enough to write. Hopefully the practice will spill over to other areas too.

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