A fairly simple word. Loaded with meaning and a fair bit of woo woo. Who doesn’t intend to do things? However, you’d actually be surprised the number of things you do without really thinking about them. With your mind either wandering around or focused entirely on something else. With a little practice and a lot of thought, intentional actions can spark new feeling and improve mental health.
I do numerous things each day with little to no thought. Due to my daughter, and me being a bit of a control freak, I wake at the same time, do the same things and my day doesn’t really start deviating from that same path hours later. In many ways, this period each day, I have very little intentionality. I am not thinking about specifically doing these tasks, but know they need to be done. I’m on autopilot and the time just slips away, but the tasks get done.
There’s another side. A darker loss of intentionality that robs my time and doesn’t achieve anything. Social media muscle memory means that despite having no intention of doom scrolling, I am there before I realise it. I intended to do something else, but now the time is gone, and I feel bad about the world.
Even when I complete tasks that I enjoy, that I look forward to, I am often not present. Not intentional with the moment, not spending my time paying attention. I am on autopilot. Thinking about something else entirely and not enjoying what I am doing. No matter what is happening, it’s far too easy to be distracted, to not pay attention, to spend time in your head instead of in the wider world.
When you are paying attention, you can find enjoyment and interest in places you least expect to find it. When you actually look at things and do things intentionally and think about them while you do them, you get much more from the activity itself. If you are not intentional with your time, you will spend it too fast, and you cannot get it back again.
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