Simple Intentions

Walk along Coronado Island, California

Walk along Coronado Island, California, 2013

This week turned out to be pretty good, once I submitted my final project for summer semester and could relax a bit. Since I will have more free time for a couple of months, I am looking forward to taking better care of myself.  When I get busy, I tend to stop doing the little things that keep me emotionally and physically feeling healthy. It is time for me to get back to the basics.

As I sat at my desk at work earlier in the week, feeling overwhelmed by my increasing workload, I decided to take a one minute break to write down some simple intentions for the day.

The list looked something like this:

  • Limit time spent on internet (e.g., checking e-mail, FB, WP, searches, etc.) to 4 times/day rather than randomly throughout the day
  • Practice mindfulness at mealtimes
  • Find ways to make difficult chores/work more pleasant
  • Get up from desk and walk or do some gentle exercise in between projects
  • Take time to notice and gently question the origins and validity of thoughts that cause emotional distress

My day went well. I was more focused, productive, and relaxed. There were many times when I felt an overwhelming urge to get online or to reach for a snack when I was feeling stressed, but paying attention to my emotions and sitting with them for a minute helped curb those impulses. In fact, it went so well, I decided to keep my intention list on my desk all week and practice each day. I noticed by the end of the week I was feeling more like myself again, and I was pleasantly surprised that I had enough energy to tackle some of the things I had been procrastinating doing. 

I try not to make too many rules for myself, as this practice can sometimes feed my perfectionism and cause more stress. I didn’t follow my intentions perfectly, but just becoming more aware of my thoughts and actions led to a noticeable boost in my mood.

I included the photo of my walk in Coronado as a reminder to find beauty in my life. Even when I can’t make it to the beach or a beautiful spot, a simple song or photo can lift my spirits.

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