Unfocused mental spinning


Unfocused and mentally spinning

Question of the Day:

Torie,  “So often, I find myself spinning in circles. Not physically, but mentally. When I’m in my house with my kids, there is so much going on, so many demands, so many to-do’s, I feel overwhelmed. I want to feel focused and productive, but something happens to me when I’m in my house. I’m constantly doing things, but not feeling like I’m accomplishing things. This mental spinning is my Supermom Kryptonite. How can I snap out of this mental state so I can feel like I’m riding the wave instead of drowning in it?”  Carina  

Parent Educator Answer: 

This is a common problem for Supermoms, especially these days. We are stuck in our houses amidst messes, tasks, people and pets demanding our attention. We are constantly working but feeling so scattered that we don’t get the BENEFIT of work: accomplishment, productivity, and satisfaction.  We believe we can’t stop or more work will pile up so we just keep spinning around in circles inside our own head. We think we can’t go outside to clear our heads or we’ll risk exposing ourselves to COVID.  This is NOT a rewarding way to go through life! This “zombie mommy” mental state of not feeling fully ALIVE is stage 2 on the 4 steps to Supermom Burnout! Stop tolerating this unfocused mental state. You deserve to feel better than this!  Everybody needs a life coach during this crazy pandemic year. Now is the perfect time to learn mind management techniques; which is what Carina needs. She needs to be the BOSS over her BRAIN and tell it what to focus on so she can feel better.  Try a few different techniques and choose the one you like best. 
  1. Breathe while focusing on your breath. 
  2. Present Focus – Bring your attention inside your body and/or your immediate surroundings. 
  3. Get moving – Every time you catch yourself in that negative spiral, do 5 burpees and 5 jumping jacks. Go for a walk or quick jog. Dance for 2 minutes. The movement interrupts the mental spinning and acts like a reboot for the brain.
  4. Write things down. On my website I have daily journal questions to get you focused on YOU and your goals. 
  5. Take a big picture perspective: 
    • Pretend you are on camera being filmed for a TV show. 
    • At dusk, go outside and look back into your house from the outside with the lights on. Notice how peaceful it seems to a stranger looking in.
    • Imagine being beamed up to outer space and seeing your life from above. 
    • Ask yourself, “Will any of this matter 10 years from now?” Or, “If today was my last day on Earth, how would I feel about this moment?” 
  Left unsupervised, our mind will take us into many unpleasant directions. We’ve got to discipline the mind like it’s a naughty puppy. It’s chewing up shoes and peeing on the carpet, it’s annoying, but it’s innocent. This is just what puppies and brains do.    Be firm with yourself. Say to yourself, “No, we are not going to go down that negative thought spiral about what a terrible mother I am. I am a good mom who is feeling overwhelmed at the moment. I’m going to walk away, take a break, refocus, and start again.”  Use your calm, assertive energy on yourself. Discipline your brain. You are in charge of it, don’t let it be in charge of you. 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in our way? The Hebbian Theory 

The Hebbian theory is a neuroscientific theory claiming that an increase in synaptic efficacy arises from a presynaptic cell’s repeated and persistent stimulation of a postsynaptic cell.  Better known as “What fires together, wires together.” If you tragically lose a loved one in the fall, the feeling of crisp autumn air or the color of changing leaves may trigger a grief or stress response. This feeling of sadness can arise without any conscious awareness on your part.  Whenever I sip my favorite cocktail, I am transported to the beaches of Hawaii. The taste, smell and texture of a Kahlua Colada immediately relaxes me. If I was to drink one of these cocktails at home, it would undo the wiring.  I would ask Carina, or anyone else who finds themselves mentally spinning in their home, how often do you find yourself focused and clear headed in your house? Is it possible that mentally spinning has wired together with your home so that it’s hard for you to separate one from the other? If you were to recreate the same trigger (kids, house, school work, pets) in an Airbnb, would it be easier for you to prioritize and focus? If so, it’s time to rewire your home to become a place of relaxation and peace.  The way to do this is to find ONE SPACE inside or outside your home that can be a place of clarity and calm. This can be your bathroom, a closet, a chair outside under a tree, or your car. Some 3 x 3 foot space to call your own. Make sure there are no visible tasks in this spot. If you are sitting under a tree looking at weeds that need pulling and lawn that needs mowing, turn around and face the tree. It needs to offer a sense of peace. Decorate your space with your favorite scented candle. Have a pretty journal there. Create a mini sanctuary in your home that is just for you to anchor yourself into peace.  When you catch yourself feeling unfocused and overwhelmed, leave and go to your sanctuary to ground and re-group. Eventually, your calm, focused energy will rewire your brain so you can feel as calm in your own home as you do sipping Kahlua Coladas on a beach in Hawaii.  When you catch yourself feeling unfocused and overwhelmed, leave and go to your sanctuary to ground and re-group. Eventually, your calm, focused energy will rewire your brain so you can feel as calm in your own home as you do sipping Kahlua Colada’s on a beach in Hawaii.   

Supermom Kryptonite: Multitasking 

Multitasking is today’s Supermom Kryptonite because it weakens our power. Trying to focus on two things simultaneously makes us move slower, reducing our efficiency and lowering IQ.  This isn’t to say that you can’t DO two things at once, you just need to focus on one thing at one time. If folding laundry is easy and automatic, you may be able do it WHILE helping your son with his homework without any negative consequences. Doing the dishes may be a mindless activity that frees up enough attention to simultaneously cook dinner. But if you try to follow a new recipe, while helping with homework, you may find your attention getting pulled too thin resulting in decreased productivity, focus, and sense of satisfaction. 

Supermom Power Boost: A peace trailer

With COVID, many families have invested in RV’s and trailers for fun summer getaways. Well, just because fall is here does not mean it’s time to put away that trailer. My clients are discovering that having a trailer parked outside your house makes an excellent sanctuary for mom.  One client called hers the “peace trailer”. In true Supermom style, she designated it as a place for her KIDS to go to regroup and find peace. I think it’s the PERFECT place for MOM to go to find peace. The trailer is easy to keep clean, is devoid of to-do lists and tasks so it isn’t triggering for mom. Memories that emerge in the trailer are (hopefully) from relaxed summer vacations.  

Quote of the Day:

 “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” Mahatma Gandhi

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