Is my mind full…or am I mindful? If you’re asking yourself this question…pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and take time to ponder what you’re asking yourself. What’s going on internally with you in this moment that you may need to give focused attention to?  After reading this article, you’ll want to check in on your level of mindfulness by taking our free Mindfulness Awareness {QUIZ}™

Mindfulness Practice helps us increase our ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, anxiety, and conflict. It also helps us to focus our attention and observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness is the opposite of mindlessness (being unconscious in any moment). Sometimes it’s healthy to be mindlessly watching a program that is just fun or relaxing.  But, not while driving a car.

I experienced an episode this year just before my birthday where I went unconscious in that one crucial moment that required my full attention…with an unfortunate outcome.  I had been working on a project with a deadline and taking care of my two teenage grandkids for a few days; feeding, driving them to and from school and volleyball practice.  When I took them home to wait for my daughter to arrive from her trip, I was completely exhausted. She suggested I stay but I was looking forward to being in my own bed. That one decision was made without consideration for how late it was and the stress I had put on myself around my project over the weekend. I was not being mindful!

I drove my new CRV 10 minutes home and parked it in one of the spots near the pool instead of going back to my own space, which is a little farther away. I live in a  safe gated community. I recall as I was driving home, that I kept holding my breath, a clear symptom of anxiety. I should have paused and pondered my situation and I didn’t. I parked the car, thought I had it in park, opened the door and put my left leg out to get out. The car started rolling backwards (on a slope) at quite a clip, and threw me unto the pavement. I screamed and tried to get up to save my car.  My amygdala was completely hijacked. I wasn’t thinking clearly.  I obviously couldn’t have stopped my car from moving and in that one moment I saw a horrifying sight. The car tire ran over my left foot as it kept moving, stopping at the wall that surrounds my community. I thought my foot was broken.

In that one moment, I had unconsciously left the car in neutral instead of park and within seconds I was on the pavement with multiple injuries. My car only sustained a few fence markings on the bumper.  It’s new and has all the electronic bells and whistles but I hadn’t even yet figured out how to use the emergency brake. I won’t make that mistake again.

I’m sharing this story with you so that it causes you to consider the negative impact of stress that you may be experiencing.  I’m encouraging you to be mindful and take time for self-care.  Just pausing and deep breathing a few times, before taking on anything more, can ground you.  You know when you say yes and you really mean no. Or what about texting and driving. Even if you’re texting stopped at a light, your attention is diverted. To the degree for which you remain mindful, especially when handling a 2.5 ton vehicle, you’ll remain safer.

And, take into consideration the daily news and growing concerns over Coronavirus, one more thing for us to worry over, adding to our stressful lives.

Don’t despair. I bring good news to offset all the noise going on in your brain.  My good friend and associate, Rose Gibbons, developed an on-demand workshop called Experiencing Micro-Mindful Moments. She is an MFT (Marriage Family Therapist) in California & certified in Conversational Intelligence® as a coach.  Rose’s work is being used in a social services agency to support first responders in practicing how to minimize their job stress using simple micro-mindful moments she calls MM&M’s.

You can access Rose’s free Mindfulness Awareness {QUIZ}

This article was written by Gloria Manchester, a certified professional coach and founder of the coaching platform for women called Create A Thriving Life Story™.