Distractions and the Anxiety that goes along for the Ride

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A peaceful resting place to gaze out at the Atlantic Ocean at any time of day.  Perhaps as the sun is rising; the only distraction that which we allow to distract us.  Taken at the Castle Rock Country Inn near Ingonish, Nova Scotia.

Sublime moments arise at the oddest of times. Take for instance last night; sitting on the coach when a wave of physical anxiety swept over me.  The realization that distractions had creeped back into my life. Awareness for what it was had been dulled by the constant attention that everything else needed.

“All of man’s troubles come from not knowing how to sit still, alone in a room.” – Blaise Pascal

After sitting in discomfort for 15 – 20 minutes just being aware of the anxiety; no distractions it got my mind thinking again.  Awareness was making a comeback. These words came to me the following morning recounting the night before.

The distractions are immense; overpowering. To sit quietly with nothing ignites the anxiety. It was a wave through my body and manifested in physical discomfort. Yet, I sat there. Watched it unfold. Watched the mind dart to my phone “Check it, quick!”, to the Ipad, “Just for a minute; what if there is a notification”, to my journal “I’ll just write something down”

Then my mind clicked and it was time to just sit silently without distraction.  Everything was off. The pug was sitting quietly. Watch the mind move, watch the discomfort in physical form. Then as if nothing had happened the anxiety began to pass. A storm moving on as quickly as it has arrived. 

It opened my eyes. The cool soothing comfort of distraction & craving had lulled me back in. Mindfulness or not, I was glazed over.

The difference this time is I had become aware and that made all the difference. It wasn’t enough to just reach for the next distraction. It was to sit there with the anxiety to see how these things affect me. 

What is your distraction? We all have them and it’s hard to believe how much of our day can become consumed with such trivial things.  Ipad / Phone / TV / Even the journal can be a distraction if nothing else than to convince myself I’m doing something when I’m not.

Look at the things around you.  Take 5-10 minutes and just sit quietly with yourself and be amazed at how your body and mind react. If it’s positive then be aware of the stillness of your mind. If it’s negative look at the anxiety that’s flowing through you.  Either way paying attention is the key. Paying attention so that you become more aware of the distractions themselves and aware of the feelings that are present when those distractions are kept at bay.

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