I will not use my mobile phone whilst driving.

I’ve made a decision this week to never use my mobile phone while driving.

Yes, I confess, I’ve done it before – and if you asked my children I was ‘arrested’ – for the record, I wasn’t, but I may have received a sizeable fine and a little bit of a damaged ego – but that’s a story for another day!

You see, the reason for my decision and declaration as above is that I’ve been doing a great online (and free might, I add) course about Mindfulness and Peak Performance.  To tell the truth, whilst I’m a little behind, I’m actually loving it.  One of the notions we have been learning about the attentional blink and that effective multi tasking isn’t really even a thing, nor is it a way to be more productive.

In fact, complex multi-tasking sees increased errors, missed information and increased stress levels, which all, in turn activate the part of the brain which sets off the stress response. Like, walking and talking is an act of simple multitasking, but driving a car and using your mobile phone is an example of complex multi-tasking.

You know, multi-tasking is actually a ‘misnomer’ – it is not possible for our brains to process two tasks/activities at the same time- so while we think we are doing two things effectively at one time – WE’RE NOT – sorry ladies!

When our focus is on one task, not only is it not on the other task, there is also time lost on the time it takes to switch between tasks.

This time is called the attentional blink – so when previously I was talking on my phone and driving my car – neither was getting my focused attention – so I’m here telling you, I’m making the change – and if you ever catch me – feel free to call me out!

Another point to note is that the more stressed we are, the longer this ‘blink’ is – it makes me wonder about those people who work with two computer screens – I would absolutely question if they believe this makes them more productive??  And if they do think they are more productive, are they really?

Efficient attention switching on the other hand is a learned skill and one that I see is necessary in our modern world.  It sees intense focus on one task at a time, which decreases stress and increases productivity. Easier said than done, I know, but with practice, definitely an incredibly valuable skill to have in your repetoire`.

One way to learn this is through practicing mindfulness frequently, so when you actually need the skill, your mind knows what to do.  They used a good example in the course about learning to swim – you don’t wait until you are the man overboard before you learn how to swim – you diligently went to the lessons and learned the skill as a preventative measure – mindfulness practice, therefore, is a preventative measure for good physical and emotional health.

So…. what simple actions can you do today that will help you be more mindful?

  • Try catching yourself out and becoming more aware of your thoughts.
  • Do one task at a time – I’ve got to say this is harder than it sounds.  Keep practicing bringing your attention back to the task at hand.
  • Practice self-compassion when you catch your mind wandering off – just be gentle to yourself as you bring your attention back.

Remember becoming more mindful is a process to be practiced and that small daily actions are what become helpful habits.

I love sharing this information, the more I know about it, the more I believe mindfulness has such a place in this modern world we live in!

So, I’ve committed to not using my phone while I’m driving, and I’m working on some other simple, more mindful actions, what will you commit to?

 

Featured Image:

Image ID : 9113681
Image Type : Stock Vector
Copyright : John Takai

 

Nobody wants a broken down car….

When I was younger, I remember my Mum saying ‘you don’t have much if you don’t have your health.’  I’ve been blessed with a very wise Mum (in that instance and countless others too).  It may shock her to hear me say, she was right – but she was, and still is.  Though, even with that in mind, we often take our health for granted, don’t we, until something goes wrong?  Have you done that?

If we take some time to look after it (and ‘service it’, like I’m sure you do for your car) you will most certainly not regret it.  Its really up to us as individuals to ‘perform the preventative maintenance’ on ourselves!  I’m not into cars at all – that analogy just came to me as I was typing – seems to fit well though, even if I say so myself!

What preventative maintenance I’m talking about?  Its just simply about taking responsibility for your health and managing it accordingly.  The thing is, making not so great health choices might not noticeably affect you in the short term.  But if you keep choosing unhealthy options, it will catch up with you in the longer term.  Just saying.

You see, the human body is quite amazing and extremely efficient.  It is capable of compensating for a long time (depending on the specific function), but when it stops working the way it should, only then, do individuals start to consider seeking health care, see the second paragraph for a better plan!

The other really important thing you can do, which only takes a few conversations with your family – is find out about your family’s health history.  Why is this even important?  It is especially important when it comes to knowing your risk for the lifestyle diseases.

The term ‘lifestyle diseases’ refers to conditions which are contributed to by such factors as poor nutritional intakes and physical inactivity – both frighteningly common in first world countries.   They include conditions as heart disease, stroke and Type 2 Diabetes.  There are some predisposing factors we can’t do anything about (like increasing age, family history/genetics and even gender in some cases to name a few) and then there is the factors we can alter like (inadequate nutritious food intake, amount of physical activity, alcohol intake and tobacco use).  So, knowing your risk factors and choosing to manage them is crucial to providing ‘preventative maintenance’ and taking responsibility for your health!

That’s right, we are in control (behind the wheel) of our own health.  Do you take your health for granted (cruise control)?  If not, what have you done to take control (take the steering wheel) of your health lately?