Doing Mode

Over the past week, I have been reflecting quite a bit on a conversation I had with a colleague regarding mindfulness. I thought it might be worth sharing because it put things in perspective and pertained to self-care.

I will eventually discuss the concept of mindfulness, but I want to focus on the philosophy my colleague presented. He described three different modes we experience.

The first mode he called “vacation mode.” Now this is not the vacation where you and your entire family have every minute planned out to a tee. This is the vacation where you wake up when you feel like it and meander down to the beach. You lay there throughout the day, eating when you feel hungry and drinking when you feel thirsty. When you look down at your watch, time feels distant. This is a time of extreme relaxation and living in the moment.

The next mode my colleague mentioned was “doing mode.” This is where we should be most of the time. You have your day laid out ahead of you. You go through the motions step-by-step. You are able to focus and everything comes to you easily. You are able to accomplish most of what you set out to do without any serious interruption.

This last mode is a serious problem — “driven mode.” In this mode, you are totally focused on what you need to get done. It is often associated with high levels of stress and perceived crises. Your mind races and you are on the move. You will forget to stop and eat. You forget about your basic needs over the course of the day in an effort to check everything off your list.

In today’s society, we tend to be stuck in “driven” mode when the goal should be to in “doing” mode with intermittent periods of “vacation” and “driven” modes. As a result, we lose track of what is most important including our basic needs and time. The keyword here that you will read in my blog time and time again is balance.

-The Caring Counselor

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