06-21-2017 08:12 PM
A great place to get starting with mindfulness is building up your skill of self awareness. Unless you become aware of your thoughts, feelings and sensations than you can’t re-orientate yourself to the present moment. Once you notice that your attention and focused has drifted away, you give yourself the opportunity to bring your attention back.
Learning to be the observer of your experience – rather than the passenger of your experience - is a great place to start building a practice of mindfulness in your life. When you are the observer of your experience, you take the position of noticing that you are experiencing an emotion or a thought or a sensation.
For example, instead of getting frustrated and acting from a place of frustration, you practice observing that you are frustrated (e.g. you might notice your shoulders tense up, your breathing becomes shallow or your mind starts racing). Once your become aware of your frustration you give yourself a choice to reconnect with the present moment, rather than your attention getting swept away by the emotion.
It can help to use indicators of disconnection and emotional distress (e.g. a wandering mind, tense shoulders, going over the same the thought, ‘what if’ questions about the future) as signals to return to the present moment. The more you become aware of your sensations, thoughts and emotions, then more equipped you become to re-connect with the present moment. This is definitely a matter of practicing and repeating.
06-21-2017 08:14 PM
I know how hard it can be to remain mindful and aware in times of heightened emotion @taokat
It is useful to consider mindfulness is a skill that takes time and practice to cultivate. The more time you dedicate to building the skill outside the moment, the quicker you become in engaging mindfully even in moments of frustration or overwhelm.
I think it's also important to practice non-judgment and self compassion when you only remember in hindsight
06-21-2017 08:15 PM
06-21-2017 08:18 PM
Thanks @taziness for bringing that up.
Some experiences and moments can be incredibly difficult and painful. Mindfulness helps us create a bigger container to hold our emotions in, so we become more able to 'sit with' very difficult moments.
Having said that, there are moments where we feel compelled to escape the here and now because it feels too much. This is a great opportunity to use other techniques, like deep breathing and grounding exercises to create a sense of calm and safety
06-21-2017 08:18 PM
I guess that's true too @Emily_May - while we're learning and practicing, to give ourselves a break on the judgement.
I try to tell myself that at least I get it, even if it's in hindsight at times! Lol
06-21-2017 08:20 PM
So true @taokat!
I think the missing link in mindfulness is often the part about the spirit of non-judgment. It is not only about being engaged in the present moment, but wiholding judgment, which is can be so hard to do!