Take it From Captain Arrrf: Remember the 5 R’s to Return to Mindfulness

by Dr. Robert “Bud” James

Captain Arrrf! Courtesy of Tony Wehrman at https://www.flickr.com/photos/tt2times/

Mindfulness is defined as one’s capacity to avoid distractions that take our attention away from our present intention. That’s easier said than done.

In today’s world, we’re more distracted than ever. It seems like every time we turn around we’re being distracted by a person, a text, an email, a beep, a flashing sign, or something else that momentarily grabs our attention. In addition, we’re really good at self-distraction, with most of us having BSOS (Bright Shiny Object Syndrome). It doesn’t take much to distract our attention and launch us down a time draining path that we never intended to follow in the first place.  Given all the distractions, it makes it extremely difficult to get anything substantial done. 
Some of the downsides of being distracted include increased stress, reduced memory, difficulty learning, and other issues. Being distracted might make us feel good, active and busy in the moment.  Unfortunately, when we review our day, we end up feeling unproductive, stressed, and unhappy.
How do we increase our Mindfulness? 
The first step is to catch ourselves in the act of being distracted, upset, or just zoned out.  Once we catch ourselves in the act of being distracted, then we can return ourselves to Mindfulness. 
Here are a few tips to return ourselves to Mindfulness from the Mindful Pirate, Captain Arrrf.

1) Recognize Distractions – How do you feel when you’re distracted? What do you think, do, and say when you’re distracted? On a regular basis ask yourself “Am I focused on the most important thing that I could be or should be doing right now?”

2) Rest – While it’s great to be focused, you should insert short breaks and rest periods. Allocate 20 to 30 minutes of intense focus and then take a short break. A 5 minute break will suffice. Even marathon runners know to take breaks during the race or they won’t have the resources to finish.

3) Respirate with Focus – Focused respiration or breathing has been shown to be a useful tool to regain mindfulness.  To focus your breath put your hand on your belly. As you inhale, feel your belly expand. As you exhale, allow your belly to relax completely. Inhale through your nose for a 4 count and exhale through your mouth for an 8 count.  Repeat 3 times. 

4) Reprioritize To Do’s – While working on one task, our priorities can change. Sometimes, we haven’t made taking care of ourselves a priority. Reanalyze your list, determine how much time is remaining in your day and tackle the biggest project that you can complete in the time allocated. 

5) Return to task – Once you’ve recognized that you’re distracted, ask yourself “how fast can I return to effectiveness?” Then take action.

Implement  Captain Arrrf’s 5 R’s into your life today. You’ll be more focused, you’ll remember more, you’ll get more things done, and you’ll be happier. For more information on increasing Mindfulness, please contact us at (530) 297-6464 or click here to email us.

Dr. Robert “Bud” James is an experienced instructor, consultant, and the co-author of underlying principles of the PAUSE Model of Spiritual Counseling™, and co-author of the upcoming books, Mastering the Therapeutic Process™, Allowing the Magic™, and the novel, PAUSE: The Prayer That Needs No Answer™.

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