Sunday, September 03, 2006


What are you doing now? Reading this blog whilst simultaneously checking your emails, watching re-runs of Ironside and making a cup of hot chamomile tea? The relaxation stuff is boring, I know, everyone knows it, and this is going to be my last entry on it for now, but honestly, that chamomile tea is a waste if you're doing all this other stuff at the same time.

We're lead to believe that our lives are so busy in modern western culture that this is the only way we can possibly live. The truth of the matter is, if you set your tasks one at a time and put 100% into each one, then not only will your productivity increase and you will get more done, you will also become increasingly aware of your surroundings. When you become increasingly aware of your surroundings you become decreasingly aware of those trivial anxieties that only exist because of your awareness to them. Think about that one.

Multi-tasking is bad.

I remember playing with a thought I had about eating a healthy diet. Not a fad diet, a 'lose weight in 3 hours!' diet, or anything like that, but a naturally, healthy, permanent diet. This isn't something which I was ever brought up to be good at. Thankfully I've never had a problem with my weight or health, but I used to eat far too much junk food for my own good. It dawned on me that much of the time I would eat something it would go down so fast while I'm watching TV or whatever that I could barely remember eating it. So, I would want something else! And off I would go, back to the kitchen, rummaging in the back of the cupboards looking for that delightful treat that would give me my contentment for a short time. It never did give me contentment though, I just always wanted more. Back to the kitchen...

When you're preoccupied in all your blistering thoughts, especially so when you're taking part in several activities at once, the food cannot give you contentment because your mind is elsewhere. So, I began pondering on the thought that if you sit down with your food, in a quiet space, rest your mind onto what you're eating, feel the texture and appreciate every last sensation of the flavour entering your mouth, then finally you can achieve that level of contentment you're looking for. And as you achieve that level of appreciation for this gift that sits on the table in front of you, your usual urge to replicate that event over and over again begins to dissolve. Interestingly, a couple of months later I was listening to the radio and Paul McKenna was being interviewed by Chris Moyles (don't laugh at my sources for this blog!). At that time, McKenna was involved in his own TV show here in the UK which was basically showing people how to stick to healthy diets and lose weight. Now, I didn't watch any of that show, but from what he explained on the radio, much of his wisdom (an alleged ten years worth of studying this) was based around what I've just explained above. For anyone who's ever had any problems sticking to a healthy diet and not eating junk every twelve seconds, I'm sure you can understand how powerful that is. But what it isn't is a crap piece of advice like 'Uh, well just don't eat so much!'. It actually goes very deep, to a level where not only are you eating less on the surface, but you're content with what you are doing and you're reaching some kind of state of fulfillment. Which is where you want to be in your life, right?

Is multi-tasking fulfilling? You might think you'll get everything done, but you're not going to get it done in a healthy state of mind. And if your state of mind is not healthy it is not going to be fulfilled. What it is going to be, is cluttered. All the garbage you've just cleaned out with your relaxation (if you've done it), it's all back again! Back to square one.

If you carry on multi-tasking it feeds the abundance of constant negative dribble in your mind. It does the opposite to relaxation. It feeds the anxiety. It doesn't bring on sudden panic either, it's much more subtle than that. It builds over a long time, very slowly creeping up on you while you remain unaware, until one day it grabs you by the throat and throws you to the floor. It's not that you can't still keep up a busy day. My busiest days are usually my best and most satisfying. Just keep it to one thing at a time, with focus and attention on all of your tasks on an individual basis. You'll not regret it.

It is honestly this kind of balance, along with relaxation, coupled with controlling my negativity that freed me from years of debilitating anxiety, agoraphobia and panic.

End of lecture.


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