All of us have those things in our lives that we have to get done. Sometimes we don’t want to do them. Can you think of something that you don’t like to do, but it has to be done anyway? Here is something that has helped me to make that process much easier. Today’s post is short, but worth giving a try.
Pick a small daily or weekly task that you don’t like to do, but will need to do. It could be something as simple as making the bed, cleaning your office, or attending a regular meeting. When the time comes and you feel that sense of dread, notice the thoughts you are thinking about doing the task. Make a decision not to react to the thoughts, and accept the task as something that you are just going to do. When you start doing the task or walk into the meeting, don’t add your thoughts to it. Simply pay close attention to every detail of doing the task. Get curious about the task, not how you feel about doing the task. Do it mindfully and deliberately, paying attention to every step.
This method is supported by the fact that most of the pain associated with doing these tasks comes from our mind. Many times the tasks aren’t terrible, it is just our thoughts about them that are terrible. Mark Twain was reported to have said, “I have had a lot of troubles in life, and some of them even happened.” In saying this he was bringing to light the fact that we are most of the cause for our own mental worry and suffering. Think about things you have worried about that never happened.
Somewhere along the way we label the specific task as bad, and our mind just reminds us every time we have to do it. Maybe when we first did the task we were having a bad day, and associated that having a bad day with the task. Now everytime we have to do that, the same negative feeling comes back.
Doing things without adding our own thoughts and just paying attention to doing the task, is a great way to make life a little easier. Give it a try and let me know what you think.