One way you can achieve “living in the moment” is by putting your emotional issues into “compartments” within your head and your heart. You can deal with those feelings on your own when you need to.
Many aspects of life can get you sidetracked and distraught. Finding a place to retreat within yourself can be challenging. By compartmentalizing, you can put your feelings where they belong, and you can earmark one challenge to tackle another challenge.
You can focus on the one task at hand and deal with the rest when appropriate.
Mental compartmentalization has a darker side, however. Psychologists identify extreme compartmentalization as a major defense mechanism by which some evade the acute anxiety that can spring from the clash of contradictory values or conflicting emotions. (A very pious scientist, for instance, could hold opposing beliefs about the Judeo-Christian and scientific notions of life’s origins. Compartmentalizing, she may live different value sets depending on whether she’s at church or her laboratory.) Some individuals also fall back on compartmentalization to cope with the lingering trauma of childhood abuse, neglect, and other emotional conflicts.
The day-to-day compartmentalization I’m talking about isn’t denial or avoidance. It isn’t evading conflicts and sidestepping problems—instead, it’s putting things out of the way for the moment and not letting them impede the rest of your life.
You can’t just ignore your issues and expect them to go away, but obsessing on them won’t help either.
Idea for Impact: Compartmentalize and get more done. Putting away the things that hurt or upset you, even if just for a short time, can also help you gain valuable perspective on dealing with them.