What are your goals for 2016? One of mine is to try and stop worrying so much. And yes, I know I said that last year, but I really, really mean it this time 😉
The main reason for this is that I’m beginning to realise how much a constant worry habit can get in the way of a happy life. I spend so much of my time stressing about what’s going to happen in the future, what already happened in the past, or what could be happening right now (usually, for some reason, ‘is that person mad at me?’, even though 99.9% of the time they’re not), that I often forget to stop and enjoy the here and now. And even when I don’t have anything specific to be anxious about, I tend to feel a bit worried that I’ve forgotten something. (I’ve been assured this is actually quite common, and I’m not just a weirdo.)
A couple of months ago, I took the Choosing Happiness e-course run by Gabrielle of The Green Gables, which I found really interesting and rewarding. But the bit of the course that I couldn’t quite get to grips with was the meditation – for a few reasons, I think.
Firstly, it’s because, like a lot of people, I tend to associate meditation with sitting cross-legged on the floor around a fire, going ‘ohmmm’, chanting and stuff like that – which is very much not my style.
But there are other issues too; firstly, meditation demands that I stop thinking about anything else for a few minutes, and my busy, distracted brain just can’t handle it. On top of that, particularly in the run-up to Christmas, I’ve found it difficult to set aside regular time, and unfortunately this isn’t something you can just do once and everything will be magically fixed.
So, to be more specific, one of my goals for 2016 is to try and spend 10 minutes every day doing nothing, to give my mind a bit of a break. I won’t be sitting on the floor, or starting any fires (I’m a bit scared of fire, so that would definitely not be a relaxing setting) and I absolutely won’t be chanting. I probably won’t even call it meditation. But hopefully after a bit of practise, for those 10 minutes each day I also won’t be stressing out about any number of crazy and unnecessary worries.
If you’d like to know more, here’s a short TED talk from Andy Puddicombe, a sports science student turned Buddhist monk turned circus performer turned app creator. (Because who wants a traditional career path?)
Do you find time to do nothing?