Sunday, March 13, 2011

One at a Time

People with bipolar disorder aren't the only ones with racing thoughts. Who has not had one of those moments when you start to contemplate the consequences of a situation? And one idea leads to another, leads to another, leads to another.

I am fairly good at sizing up people and calculating events for their effect. This is often known as "being negative" among people who are later shocked when things don't turn out as well as they had hoped (or, from my perspective, when things turn out exactly as I had expected.)

Those who teach mindfulness would tell me not to go there, to stay in the moment. This requires the ability to control your attention or focus. Those who are good at this ... certainly not I ... say this brings with it emotional stability. That's something all of us caregivers can use in large doses.

I can see this: A racing mind is either running into the future or hurrying back into the past. Getting disciplined about focus involves staying the present moment and bringing your full attention to the things at hand.

This is quite hard for me. After all, the only way I have ever successfully completed housework is to put an interesting podcast on my iPod and listen while I work.  This way, my right brain is distracted and does not come up with a suggestion every five seconds of better things to do than scrubbing the bathtub.

So before I risk visits from the Health Department, I need to start on something simple. Like actually paying attention when I eat or when I am talking to someone.  If I can tame my restless right brain, maybe my entire brain will be calmer. We'll see!!

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