In recent years, the topic of mindfulness has gained attention. I have found that mindfulness can be a very useful tool in addition to therapy. Being mindful sounds easy, but is actually quite challenging with all the demands and distractions in life. Mindfulness is about being present and paying attention on purpose. As Jon Kabat-Zinn stated:
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”
Our thoughts can easily wonder, often going to the past or to the future. Time traveling leads you to judge your experiences often creating anxiety, conflict, or sadness. We all time travel and could use help learning how to be more present in our lives. Part of the therapy experience can be to learn how to stay in the moment and observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance without judging them as good or bad. If you are interested in creating a more mindful existance, try these exercises:
- 30 second Breathing. You can practice this exercise in any environment. Focus on your breath for just one minute. Slowly, breath in and out, observing the rise and fall of your chest. Or, perhaps you may focus on the sensation of the breath at the nostrils. Try holding your breath for 5 seconds before you exhale. Notice any changes in your body.
- Mindful Observation. Pick something in your environment and observe it for a minute. Perhaps you notice a bird or a flower. Observe all aspects of the object, including color, smell, and texture. Your mind may begin to wonder after a couple of seconds. That’s ok! Observe your thoughts and then try to refocus on the object you selected.