I pride myself on having a fast brain. I make decisions fast, I answer questions fast, I play games fast. Somehow I’ve thought that fast was better. Maybe I felt like it made me seem smarter, I don’t know. But my brain also goes around in circles. I’ve always thought that it helped me with remembering things or thinking things through but I’ve always been sure that it helped me. Then a couple of years ago, I felt like I was going a little nuts. I had thoughts in a loop. They would go round and round. Not necessarily important things either. Things like groceries I wanted to get the next day or people I needed to call or emails that needed to be returned. The thought would enter my brain and jump on a loop. This would happen especially when I was trying to go to sleep. I couldn’t stop it.
Enter-Mindfulness. I didn’t start practicing mindfulness to stop my mind from going on a loop. I started it because I wanted to learn how to do it so I could teach my son. Many people told me that Mindfulness would help him with a number of things-focus, anxiety, pain, stress. Never once did I consider that it would help me too. But I signed up for a class and noticed almost immediately that my brain was changing or at least how my brain was thinking. When I was practicing mindfulness, it felt like I was “training” my brain. One part of my brain was teaching another part of my brain how to work. I have this brain, which is an amazing organ, but never have I taught it how to work, right? I was born and it started going. It knew how to tell my heart to beat and it knew how to tell my lungs to breathe. Soon my brain started absorbing everything that my eyes saw and sent it to my brain. Same with sounds, smells, touch and taste. Nonstop input. But never did I think about teaching my brain how to take some time off. I mean, come on, our brains work constantly! They never stop. So mindfulness is a way for me to give my brain a little break. Somehow, in my genes maybe, I was under the impression that being stressed meant I was busy. Being tired meant I was getting stuff done. It was always go, go, go. But what I’ve learned is that by giving my brain a chance to reboot by practicing mindfulness, I am able to think more clearly. My body is more relaxed. I am more patient with my husband and son. I am more patient in my car. I am more compassionate. I am less anxious and less stressed. I did not plan on this! Really. I just got on the train and went along for the ride.