🚰THE POWER OF ATTENTION🚰
In school I was always given out to for day dreaming and not paying attention in class. These days my friends call me Dory from ‘Finding Nemo’ because I have the attention span of a fish most of the time. I have also been called a magpie because I get easily distracted “Oh look something shiny”. When we are bored or disinterested in something, we tend to zone out and retreat to our thoughts about the activity or something completely different. When we feel sad, we are more likely to switch on negative thinking, which then compounds the low mood, and so on.
This weeks exercise wanted us to choose an activity we habitually zone out of and start paying attention to it.. For example a chore you have to do around the house. I chose cleaning the dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher).
Begin to ask yourself the following questions about the task:
What emotions are present? (acknowledge how you are feeling)
I feel dread. I feel exhausted. I feel frustrated. I feel lazy.
What story are you telling yourself about the task? (Notice any connections between the story and emotions) Acknowledge whatever is arising (even if you think you “shouldn’t be having” such thoughts).
My mam will probably go mad if she sees a sink full of dishes when she comes home from work. Why did no one wash their own dishes as they used them? This is going to take forever. I am always the one who ends up cleaning up after everyone. This is such an effort.
Pay attention to your breath and any sensory experience that arises: smell, taste, sight, sound. Use the sense to bring you back to the present moment when your mind begins to wander off.
I can smell fairy washing up liquid. The water feels warm against my skin. I can hear hear the water coming from the tap and the noise of the dishes hitting off each other. I can see the dirt being removed. I can feel the sponge in my hand.
Investigate whether there is another way to relate to the task. Perhaps think about who benefits from this activity. Try to see what you can do as an act of love or affection for someone you care about.
My Mam will really appreciate seeing a clear sink when she comes home from work. It saves her having to do it herself when she comes home after 11pm tonight. It will give her one less task to do before bed.
We don’t have to enjoy what we are doing, but we can choose to relate differently to it.
By relating to the task in a different way, it made the experience more positive. Now instead of moaning about washing the dishes, I now see it as an act of kindness for my Mam for when she gets home from work. Give it a go yourself and see if you can begin to relate differently to a task you find difficult.