Sometimes (most times) I have trouble keeping my head focused on the moment or activity at hand. If I am not actively engaged in a mentally stimulating activity like conversation or work, my mind begins to wander. The higher my stress level at a given time, the faster my mind starts running, and sometimes I get lost in my own head.
This ongoing analytical thinking often gets me into trouble while I am driving. I regularly lose focus on where I am headed and drive past highway exits, miss turns, etc. I am also challenged when learning directions to a new place because I do not pay attention to where I have just travelled.
For some reason driving really throws me into my deep spiraling thought. In addition to losing my way on the road, I tune out my children who might be screaming my name in the back seat or peppering me with questions (they are always screaming something- so sometimes this is a blessing).
My distracted mind drives my wife crazy. She has gotten into the habit of warning me before every turn, and often yells at me during a drive to respond to one of my daughters’ requests or questions. Sometimes this weighs down on me too because I feel like my wife thinks I am some sort of idiot or scatter brain.
My mind also wanders when I am at home, but I have developed a habit of directing my focus to something like music or talk radio. I am almost always playing the radio at home. I find that listening to music or radio helps me shut off my brain. If I am taking a shower, or even spending 5 minutes to get dressed, the first thing I do is turn on a radio. As you can imagine, this can also annoy my wife a bit.
I went to a stress reduction seminar once that recommended deep breathing and “noticing” to help keep your mind in the moment. Noticing is a concept where you notice the details of something around you. Say notice the details of the telephone on your desk at work, or the intricate designs of the wallpaper. I have not found must success using this approach.
Sometimes I laugh at myself because I can act like a bumbling fool, but often times I get frustrated as well. As I am writing this, I am beginning to realize that fixing this one problem could have a major positive impact on my life. Easier said than done…