Think of the last time you felt caught up in a distressing emotion.
Your body may have felt tense, your mind may have been dwelling on the past or anticipating problems in the future and there is an intensity or urgency in the moment . Many have developed unhealthy strategies to escape emotions such as binge eating, drinking or other addictions, sleeping, dissociating.
Mindfulness is useful when we feel physically distressed, emotionally overwhelmed, environmentally triggered or mentally detached from the present moment. When we are overwhelmed, we can get caught up ruminating, whether on a past difficult experience, a recent stressful interaction or the fear of a future situation.
Mindfulness encourages you to focus on some aspect of the physical world, rather than on your internal thoughts and feelings. To experience mindfulness, designate a specific time for concentrating your full attention. Start initially for 3 minutes twice a day, then gradually increase the frequency and duration.
For example, when doing the dishes or taking a shower, you can practice using your senses to shift your focus and notice:
- the temperature of the water and how it feels on your skin
- the texture of the bubbles
- the light reflecting off of the bubbles as they softly pop
- the sound of the water as you move the dishes or yourself about
- the smoothness of the dishes or soap
- the texture of the sponge
- the smell of the washing liquid or soap
Below a mindful meditation script that can be incorporated into your daily routine.
Thinking of all the times in life you have encountered the gentle movement of rocking
Perhaps swaying in a hammock or sitting in a rocking chair
Perhaps floating with the tide or bobbing through waves
Or even as a small child rocking in your mother’s arms
At this time let yourself begin to rock back and forth in your chair
Let each movement become more and more gentle and easy
Let yourself sway effortlessly
Feel your body rocking on its own, in its own way , at its own speed
Let each movement become more and more subtle
All you have to do is quietly attend to the repetitive back and forth movement
And every time your mind wanders or is distracted by thought
Gently return to your subtle rocking motion
For the next minute or let your rocking be barely noticeably and quietly attend