Open Letter to High Achievers
I am driven. I have plans to achieve. And, I have the overbearing feeling that I am never doing enough. I accomplish most goals, but a voice in my head constantly demands more.
You should have read. Stop using Facebook. Focus. Be more productive.
Ruminating thoughts cause us to doubt the course we chose toward an outcome. While we may think they are pushing us to achieve, they leave us with looping negative thoughts rather than forward directed actions.
We focus on regretting yesterday's two hour Netflix break, and when it comes time to do the work - we can’t seem to do it. We don’t want to. The task seems too daunting and another Netflix binge sounds way better.
Our thoughts have made the process miserable. While we cling to the joy of reaching that goal, the course our mind takes to reach it is damaging and inefficient.
We are desperate to hold onto our thoughts and perceptions, but the solution is to let go. Mindfulness meditation is an evidence-based method for improving brain function and eliminating damaging thought processes.
WHOA! Wait. Stop. UHG. I know, another person telling you to meditate. Maybe you have already tried meditation and felt like it wasn’t for you.
You should reconsider.
It only takes an average of 20 minutes per day to make our actions more productive and more satisfying with mindfulness.
In multiple studies conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, a positive change in brain structure was found in individuals participating in an 8-week mindfulness course. The studies found that an increase in gray matter corresponded with better functioning in the areas associated with that functioning. Gray matter are essential cells and neurons of the central nervous system which assist with the function of muscle control, decision making, self-control, memory and other sensory perceptions.
Mindfulness provides the foundation to accomplish goals, so we have more time to focus on the necessary aspects of them rather than dwell on what we aren’t doing. There is always more you could have done or can do, so why put your mind through loops and waste more time by delaying action?
How To Do It
While much could be said on the beginning process, it is important to start with an understanding of meditation. Understanding that the few minutes you take each day is dedicated to developing your mind, and focus on the balance of relaxation. Your perception of this very idea will change overtime, but begin with just a few minutes a day to start gaining benefits.
Cara Jacobsen is the Director of Clinical Operations for DataDog Health developing Mindset, a biomedical app that manages and measures physiology and mental state toward personalized therapy. She has a Masters degree in Social Work (MSW) from St. Louis University.