I don’t know how we got from the laid back, peace out, flower child ways of the 60’s and 70’s to the highly productive, multitasking mania of the 80’s, 90’s, and on to today. But one thing is for sure, we are all suffering the effects of the environment we created for ourselves.
Multitasking was big. Hey, look at me, I can do 5 things at once, aren’t I fantastic! was the cry of the super mom’s and the corporate exec. Turns out we really couldn’t do 5 things at once without repercussions.
This podcast from NPR news tells all. Our brains have to set, reset, reset again every time we try to focus on more than one thing. The result is similar to a computer freeze, too many tasks at once, too fast, shut down. Suffering from memory loss? Are you 40, 50, or 60 and can’t figure out where you put your daily planner? The result of burnout.
Check out this post by Kendra Cherry on multitasking. Actually, it can impair cognitive ability. Multitasking actually makes you less productive.
So now that we are all suffering from “environmental amnesia”* (after all we have created this extremely productive, have to do something every minute environment for ourselves), what can be done about it? It’s as if we can’t stop, we are now programmed to run around like crazy all the time. How do we retrain ourselves to be content with one task at a time?
Well, I am not a doctor or a psychologist but it seems to me that our bodies as well as our minds have a wonderful ability to heal. We just need the right environment for that healing.
Here are some things I have done recently to train my brain to slow down and experience life one bit at a time.
1. Take a walk, really slow. Find a nice country road with birds singing and take your time walking.
2. Get up 1/2 hour before anyone else. “What!?” you say. Sit with your cup of coffee and don’t do anything else. Don’t read, don’t look at your email, don’t do anything else but sip the coffee.
3.Stare at the contrast between the blue sky and the green trees. Yep, that’s it.
4. Watch a cow chew it’s cud.
5. Feel the warm breeze on your skin. Close your eyes, let your mind stop and rest and feel the small hairs on your skin raise.
6. Sit in a garden and watch the flowers sway in the wind.
And the other half a point, .5, well dang, I can’t remember what it was. I am still suffering from “environmental amnesia”. Guess it’s a work in progress!
*The phrase “environmental amnesia” was coined by Barbara Heselton.