4 simple steps to quieting the busy mind

“Just be in the present moment.”

Disclaimer—Funny that should be the opening line. You’re receiving this on Saturday because when I thought I was “just being here now,” I didn’t press the SEND key in Mailchimp. So enjoy this today! LOL… xo

Just be in the present moment. How many times have you heard this? Before I learned to mediate it sounded like a good idea "to just be here now." But how? And “just?”

Everybody’s doing it— Meditation. Searching for Inner-Peace. High-Performance. Self-Actualization. Performance-Enhancement. Sounds good, no?

Have you noticed that all business gurus seem to meditate for 20-minutes a day now? Even on the show “Billions,” the two high-powered titans a ruthless U.S. district attorney in New York (Paul Giamatti) and an ambitious hedge fun billionaire (Damien Lewis) are shown meditating. I love the show! Check out the therapist-turned-success-coach character, Wendy. So much fun.

But how does this apply to you?

An important study from Harvard University found that people spend 46.9 percent of their days with wandering minds.

Imagine that you guys. Approximately half of us, will spend half of our days (half our lives) completely distracted from what we’re doing. The other important piece were the findings that mind-wandering doesn’t make us happy.

Mind-wandering is the reason for unhappiness

Your mind doesn’t wander because you’re unhappy. Allowing the mind to go unsupervised and do whatever the hell it wants is what leads to unhappiness. It doesn’t take long after the wandering to invoke unhappiness. Unhappiness comes along in just a short period of time after the mind-wandering.

That’s why I’m always talking about how important it is to have goals. They focus your attention like an internal GPS system. Your weekly schedule is based on what RESULTS you want to accomplish and not just the smokescreen of busyness that gets you nowhere.

With goals you can be in a happier mindset. You’re the boss. Your mind is not the boss of you with all it’s 60K thoughts per day running wild and having you go in10 different directions at once. That’s killjoy for your dreams. You have to be focused for dreams to see the light of day. What you focus on gets amplified. So be deliberate in your focus. Focus on what you want, instead of what you don’t want.

You may hear meditation and think, "oh that too allusive," or “I don’t have the time or interest,” and brush it off. I did for years until I went through an intense period of burnout.

But don’t brush it off today, instead try an alternative that I call Atomic Mini-Mindfulness Habits. Meditation doesn’t always look like sitting crossed legged in silence. Though it can and that’s awesome if that’s what you do. But there’s a bunch of ways to take one Atomic Mini-Mindfulness habit at a time and start to develop the habit of meditation.

I first learned to meditate in Kundalini yoga teacher training.

In my early 30’s, I was recovering from a bad period of burnout that left my immune system functioning at an all-time low, my ears ringing with adrenal fatigue and my spirits crushed. It wasn’t a pretty time for me and yoga and meditation were life-savers. Meditation can help you get to where you want to go and be more happy in the process, but be prepared for possible doom and gloom at the beginning and don’t give up. I promise it won’t last forever.

When I started meditation, I was shocked at how busy and how negative my mind was.

First, the list of everything I thought I needed to do would swoosh through my mind like rapid-fire-French speaking does when I am sitting in French class trying desperately to understand. If I was at Yoga West, in LA, my studio at the time, my mind would wander about who might be looking at me, or thinking about me? All negative evaluations of course. What? No one was looking or thinking about me? They were all dealing with taming their own unruly minds.

Or my inner perfectionistic critic would become deafening and downright abusive and tear-against-my-will, would begin to flow down my cheeks. Literally, crying out in frustration at my own mind's meanness towards myself. “Why am I so mean to myself?” I would think. Then came the bliss. The peace.

It gets easier and easier the more you practice. And this rampage of “all things self-critical” no longer happens to me. Thank Buddha. But I think it’s a big reason why it’s so hard for people to BEGIN to sit with their own minds. This makes me think of Byron Katie, and how she talks about teaching in the prisons and hearing the inmates cry out in agony from being alone with their own thoughts and minds.

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I’ll teach you alternative ways to BEGIN to quiet the mind that may be less shocking to your busy brain. Because mindfulness is so important to harness the ability to direct your mind deliberately on what you want to focus on…

An easy way to quiet your mind today— Atomic Mini-Mindfulness Habits

Contrary to how busy your life and mind are right now, you can learn to quiet your mind. Mind-racing and thoughts going a mile-a-minute make for an upsetting existence and it’s not a necessary existence. It’s just a habit. Not the quicksand that it may feel like.

How do I do it all, have it all, without burning out and making myself sick and stressed in the process?

My clients often ask me, “How do I balance it all without something giving?” The answer to this question alluded me for years, so I decided to create “a formula to have it all without burnout.” After years of research, I now have the answers and I help women follow a specific formula to create their Irresistible life without missing out on what's important to them. In strategy sessions, I help clients identify one area in which they need a formula and they leave the session knowing how to implement what’s been keeping them stuck some times for years. Mindfulness and meditation are just one piece of the puzzle, but a super important part of the formula in creating your irresistible life.

So if you're new to mediation no worries. You can start out with Atomic Mini-Mindfulness habits and increase your happiness immediately.

  1. Right now make a list of five things you enjoy doing. For me, that’s yoga, walking, reading a book, hanging out watching the stars from my terrace in the Cote d’Azur, or relaxing at the seaside with friends, a picnic and good conversation. For you it might include gardening, cooking, writing, being with family and close friends.

  2. Now, the next time you find yourself engaged in one of these activities take a moment to focus your senses. How does your body feel? What do you hear, taste, smell? Focus on this. Drop from the noisy mind into the body.

  3. Catch yourself when your mind starts wandering to your to do list, what’s happened, or anything else that’s unrelated to what you’re doing right now. Direct your mind back to this present moment. Focus on your senses again.

  4. If you have difficulty staying in the moment while being mindfully aware of your senses, try gratitude. Ask yourself, “What’s satisfying in this moment?” This is one of my favorite questions to ask. Even in the most challenging of circumstances, I can always find one thing that’s satisfying in the moment. For example, as I write this blog, my cat is laying next to me purring up a storm. When you focus on what’s satisfying in the moment it quiets your mind so you can focus on the here and now.

Practice. Practice. Practice. The more you’re mindful in your favorite activities, the more you can use this same process in other daily happenings.

Through Atomic Mini-Mindfulness habits you can learn how to quiet your mind, focus on what you want to experience and have greater happiness and satisfaction in your life, at any moment, any time of the day.

Have fun with it and let me know how it goes.