I talked before on mindful things and how in all this stuff riddance-ing it’s so hard to tackle the things in your mind. How do you quiet down a mind?
Since I wrote that post I’ve been pretty intentional–that’s the word of the season I think–about taking steps to quiet down my mind. One thing I’ve been learning during this season is that I can have all the intent to be intentional, but without practicality, all good intentions can fall by the wayside. The two–practical and intentional–are not mutually exclusive.
So here are practical steps I’ve taken to quiet down my mind:
1. I quit Pinterest. I was getting into a terrible habit of skimming through Pinterest whenever I had a spare moment. This meant I was probably seeing a gazillion images a day, and all my mind could think about was food I wanted to cook, DIYs I wanted to do, house renovations I wanted to accomplish, and clothes I wanted to wear. So I stopped cold turkey, for a week. Just by taking a week to intentionally not open the app on my phone meant I lost the habit of opening it up and perusing. Last Sunday I went through my boards and deleted all recipes I had yet to try, multiples of any pins, pins I tried and didn’t work, or other useless nonsense. I have sense been using it more as a reference, as in, “I really want a salad but I’m tired of eating the same ones all the time. I know I pinned a good one, let’s see what it is.”
2. I quit some blogs. I LOVE reading blogs. But when you spend hours a day keeping up with ones you read and trying to find new ones to read, well, I was becoming a bit obsessed. This one was harder than I thought it would be, because my web browser’s memory is more awesome than mine, and the second I type in a letter it pops up the eight blogs that start with that letter that I’m trying to forget about. So I went to my web history and cleared the entire thing of all history. Now I have to remember the million blogs I read, and I can’t. So I’ve already lost about 3 of them. I also follow these bloggers on Instagram, so if they post something that interests me I look at that one post. I’m trying to clear my web history every week or so (because I keep being bored and blog searching) so it will help me to forget. Not reading all those blog posts daily meant that I wasn’t taking in nearly as much information as I should be.
3. I went to the library. I love books, and while I realize that reading a book can cause just as much mental clutter as TV or Pinterest, the difference is I can’t multi-task with a book. When I cook, I usually put on the TV. When I clean I’m usually watching Hulu. But with a book, I can’t do any of that. You know, because I have to actually see the words I’m reading at the same time seeing the stairs I’m walking down, and it just doesn’t work together. So I read a chapter, and then force myself to get up and do things, and while I’m doing things I get caught up in other things, like taking the dog for a walk, so I get more fresh air, a clearer mind, and I feel better about myself. (Because books are better than TV, of course.)
I didn’t know how hard quieting my mind would be, but I have to say even these few simple steps have helped immensely. I sleep better. I don’t feel so guilty throughout the day when I don’t get something done because I spent too much time online.
I think the key thing with practicing intentionality is patience. I WILL slip up. I will definitely read one too many blogs. I will look at too many pins on pinterest. But a quiet mind is something that can’t be accomplished in an afternoon. And knowing this helps me to be patient when I do slip up.