Real Relationship Advice
The world is a crazy place filled with distractions, annoyances, illusions, irritations and more drama than a Spanish Novela. We get caught up in the insanity only to find ourselves lost in the miasma. We try with all our might to reduce the amount of toxicity in our lives by limiting our contact with unhealthy individuals but when you share genetics with them it seems almost impossible to do. We are dedicating March to a practice that will eliminate much of the wasted thoughts and overworked emotions caused by living in an extreme environment. Mindfulness!
Mindfulness is a practice originated in Eastern philosophy and hijacked by psychology in the early 70s. There are many definitions to mindfulness but the one we adhere to is committing one’s full attention moment by moment to the present experience. Every second is an opportunity to recommit and to experience something new. When you are present it is virtually impossible to be depressed or anxious. Depression lives in the past and anxiety lives in the future. Now is the space of awe. It is difficult to be judgmental in the present and there are no expectations.
How to be Mindful?
1. Begin slowly. Start with being present for as long as you can tolerate it. Since we already are awesome at breathing (go back to January and remind yourself), this should be easy. In the beginning, focusing on one thing for a while will bring you to the present moment. When we focus on our breath, we are immediately thrust into the fundamental necessity of the air we breathe. This is something we take for granted. The profundity of the experience of being in the present is only explicable when you have practiced it.
2. Concentration is not mindfulness. Concentration is vital to perform in excellence but mindfulness is a holistic process. Being mindful brings forth your mind, body and spirit.
3. Smile. Commit yourself to smiling 10 times a day for no apparent reason. Focus your mind on telling your body to smile and your heart to feel how that feels. Enjoy it!
4. Practice ‘Thought Stopping’. Last month we discussed this useful technique in response to negative self talk but it also works wonders for keeping yourself in the present. Try counting to 10 slowly without letting any other thoughts entering your mind. ‘1, 2, 3 ….I need to move the clothes into the dryer…’ does not work. Self talk is a good thing but it also takes you away from the present moment.
5. Intention. Make the intention everyday to spend 10 separate moments in a state of mindfulness. Whether you are noticing your thoughts, breath, the way your pants touch your legs let your mind be still and be present. When you feel any kind of stress, take a moment to be mindful.
Mindfulness is a way of being that takes practice. Do not be discouraged if you have difficulty doing this.