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Wind DownTo-Do List Anxiety

To-Do List Anxiety

As a parent, your to-do list can feel never-ending. But you can’t tackle it if you’re running on empty. In this exercise, soften a busy mind and ground yourself in the present. Guided by Sam.

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Hi, I'm Sam. Wouldn't it be great to have a mute button for our minds? Unfortunately, quieting our minds is not that easy. But two components of mindfulness proved very helpful for our busy minds. And those are observing and allowing or softening toward them. Our to-do list pops to the forefront of our mind uninvited all of the time, like when we're reading or listening to our kids tell stories about their day and it can really interrupt our presence. And this can bring up feelings like frustration and agitation as we try to push the list away so that we can really focus on the moment that we're in. It's helpful to remember that our brain is actually trying to help us by recalling the important tasks of our lives. These are tasks that preserve our relationships by maintaining the trust that bonds us. If you miss a meeting or a pickup time for example, trust may be compromised. So just remind yourself that whatever stress you're currently feeling may actually be giving you the energy and the alertness that you need to tackle the challenge or the item on your to-do list. Researchers have found that acknowledging the benefits of the stress response helps prevent some of the negative health effects that are typically linked to stress. So we'll just take a moment now to notice and soften around all of the busy-ness of the mind and then help ourselves to ground our attention in the present moment. So you can find a comfortable position either seated or lying down. And if you'd like, you can close your eyes. And just take a nice, slow, deep breath. Breathing in through your nose, and out through your mouth. And now let's take another deep breath in through your nose and this time really slowly just exhaling back out through your nose. And we'll take a moment just to witness and observe all the mental activity, the thoughts and the feelings that may be swirling in the mind right now. See if you can just watch them come and go with curiosity, noting a few here and there. Thinking or planning, or maybe noticing urges like wanting to move or open your eyes. And if the urge gets really strong, just take a slow deep breath, softening the urge as you watch it rise and pass in its own time. And now just let your attention drift to the feeling of your feet supported by the surface that they're on. And then notice where your hands are resting. And now feel the support of the surface underneath you, just letting yourself relax into that support even more. And now we'll just connect with the present moment through the five senses, starting with listening. So bring your attention to the sounds in your environment right now. And notice if it's quiet or noisy. You may notice sounds that you wanna block out, but see if you can listen in a...


TypeWind Down
Duration7 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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