My mind has a mind of it’s own
Many of us who live with mental health difficulties know that sometimes the mind takes off and brings us on a journey we didn’t intend to take.
After several years, I have discovered the thing that works for me. For being something so easy, it is SO HARD! On most occasions, it works for me- Mindfulness.
How do I describe mindfulness? Being fully engaged in the present moment. This means engaging your senses, notice what is happening around you, and just being. This does not mean that suddenly difficult moments do not exist anymore, you are just acknowledging them. Mindfulness is not just about difficult moments, it is about all moments. Even thought yoga and meditation are some of the most effective ways to be mindful, they can be really hard for some people. It is like focusing really hard on not focusing at first. So… I have a few suggestions that may seem more comfortable for beginners who are struggling.
Sometimes we simple see food as a way too fuel our bodies. We think we don’t have time for it, so we grab something on the go, shovel it in our mouths while trying to be on time for the next thing in our lives. People eat in the car, during meetings, and any convenient way to squeeze it in. What if you made eating a sensory experience. You are sitting with your food; notice what it looks like. What color is it? What is the texture, is it undercooked, overcooked, or just how you like it? Notice what it smells like. Take your time to chew one bit at a time. Put down your utensils between every bite. Slow down. Notice what the experience was like without putting a “good” or “bad” with it.
Do crafts in a way that is focused. Notice colors, textures, the sound of your sewing machine, etc. Engage your senses and don’t place positive or negative judgement on anything. Just know it is there. Try not to think about anything besides the craft you are working on
When you are running around, what surface are you on? What does it sound like? What do you see, hear, smell, etc.
Narrate Your Life:
I love this one. You really have to stay in the moment for this one. ” She is typing on her computer, the buttons click in a steady rhythm. She has to push backspace several times. She can’t figure out how to spell rhythm. Her stomach growls . Her lower back hurts. She is sitting on her bed and hunching over to type. She smells burnt toast in the other room. Her eyes are squinted. She stops to look for her glasses.” None of this has judgement or explanation. It is simply what is happening.
Being mindful when I laugh is so fun for me. It is natural, I am not concerned about how my laugh sounds, I am expressing pure joy and amusement at what is causing me to laugh. I am going to leave you with an example of a time this week when I was totally present and not thinking of anything else while I laughed. My good friend created this video and I want you to enjoy it. Just watch and notice.