How many times a day are we rushing around, under pressure, under a time crunch? We often start our days rushing out the door, coffee in hand, getting ready to send a quick text; and we don’t stop, we don’t even really taste our coffee, let alone savor it. We are multi-tasking before we even get to work, and then as most jobs demand, more multi-tasking. We eat and work. Text. Engage in computer work and conversations all at the same time. Then if we are really progressive, we rush to yoga class only to rush out to fix dinner and start all the evening activities, not allowing a pause at all. We don’t really notice. We often don’t live in the here and now even though it is really the only place we can live. But we live in regrets over the past, and worries about the future, often losing the only moment we can actually live in, the here and now. How can we slow down a little and live a lot more by being in the here and now? If you don’t have a mindfulness practice, one can be developed with a few simple steps.
- Start your day with a few deep breaths and an intention for the day. Make the in- tention in the here and now, an “I” statement. Such as: I am calm, I am focused, I am patent, I am compassionate, I am healthy. As you take some deep breaths, not forgetting to fully exhale, repeat your sentence a few times.
- Pick a time to take 2-3 deep breaths during the day. It helps if you pick some- thing to remind you to do that, such as after every phone call, or ever hour, or when you get up from your desk etc.
- Take time to notice and savor. Enjoy the little things you see, things you did not notice before. The beautiful flowers outside your building, fresh brewing coffee, a song, whatever you can savor for a moment and enjoy.
- Know that slowing down and being mindful in the moment will actually allow you to get more done and feel better, but don’t forget to find humor, ask for help and don’t blame yourself harshly, we are often hardest on ourselves.
- If you can take a mindful moment outside, all the better. We are often deprived of nature, that can be so calming and centering for us.
- Try and end your day with a few more mindful, deeper than normal breaths. Per- haps doing a visualization, or discovering what you were grateful for today, letting go of any worries and stresses that often plague your sleep.
Mindfulness is a skill that can be deeply developed over time. We begin again every time we practice, as every practice is different. But from our first mindful breath we are slowing down, training our brain and creating a better stress reduced environment.
CATHRYN E. KNEZEVICH, M.ED., LPCC
DBT IOP DIRECTOR