Bring Your Focus Back To The Present Moment
Incorporating the Dialogue Process successfully into your Team is a bit like adding jet fuel to a skateboard. Dialogue can open up previously unknown channels of knowledge,insight and communication that puts your team on the superhighway of innovative and creative success.
Who you may ask has the time to add yet more things to their lives? Who has the time to relearn how to work within a team environment all over again? It’s a valid question and one I hope the suggestion below will help show you how to use the time you already inhabit to learn some new skills, and energize you to practice mindfulness.
When you practice mindfulness within the seemingly mundane tasks you do each day you develop a deeper and richer connection to your own self awareness.
Instead of watching or counting your breath when you practice mindfulness meditation try observing what you are doing each moment without judgement or self talk. Trade watching the breath for watching your actions with each moment. No books, videos or thoughts are need, just watch your actions closely.
TIP: Don’t forget to breathe, you’d be surprised how many people tend to breathe shallowly or skip breaths altogether when in the midst of active mindfulness practice.
When I first started practicing mindfulness I became aware of two rather annoying things. First I noticed I had a flood of thoughts filling up my mind far more frequently than I’d previously noticed. Second I became aware that my shoulders, neck and hands seem to be tense and tight for no immediately apparent reason, it was as if I was tense most of the time and has not been aware of it.
During my introduction to mindfulness I was introduced to the practice of placing small colored sticky dots to unusual places around the home and office. The sticky colored dots you can get at any office supply store are used as reminders to smile and breathe deeply.
As we go about our day we often do many of our tasks while thinking about other things, and when we see one of these small dots we are reminded to check in with our minds and body to see if we have lost focus of the present moment. these dots can become wonderful reminders to relax and breathe as we go about our day.
Get a pack of sticky dots and place a few at home and work to trigger your self awareness about what’s going on in your mind and body. 3 or 4 are all you need in each place. I have one on the door of the fridge along with one on corner of the bathroom mirror and finally one on the key-holder I see every time I leave the house.
1. Washing Dishes
Seems like whenever you read a book or hear a lecture about embracing mindfulness you’ll inevitably hear the suggestion that washing dishes mindfully is a great place to kick off your mindfulness journey.
So many books and lectures have extolled the power of washing dishes that its value may have become diluted.But it is a classic suggestion precisely because it works. Washing dishes gifts you with a few moments to step outside the swirling distractions bombarding you all day.
See the water falling from the faucet onto your soapy hands as you direct the sponge round and round the plate or casserole dish. Breathe in and breathe out as you focus on the task at hand. If you find yourself wandering in your thoughts gentle refocus on the task of washing the dishes.
For a few minutes you can leave behind work, traffic, and a myriad of pulls and tugs that have been nagging at you. For a few minutes you can watch yourself do something with your whole attention letting the motion unfold moment to moment.
Writing even a tiny amount each day will help you reach a deeper part of yourself. Writing your thoughts, ideas, dreams or plans for a better you into a notebook you carry with you everywhere, and I mean everywhere will open your mind and spark your creative side.
Journaling is a bit like watching your breath and observing your thoughts as they form on the pages of your notebook. Letters combine to form words combining to form thought streams and illuminating unknown colors and caverns of your mind.
Each sentence can be like breathing in then breathing out to help calm and stabilize your mind.
3. In Your Car
You most certainly want to focus on your driving and not on how deep your mindfulness is becoming when you’re driving. That being said, there are a few opportunities to practice before you turn the ignition on.
When you first get into your car take a deep breath and focus on how the seat feels, focus on putting on your seat belt, and next notice if you are carrying any tension in your legs, arms or shoulders. Take another deep breath and release the tension before you start the car.
Ok, you’re ready to go, bring your attention to the act of driving the car to get you where you want to go. Try driving without the radio or phone for distractions, allow your attention to be on the act of driving itself and always remember to check in with your breathing.
Oh, and remember to smile as you motor down the road. Can you remember how wonderful driving was when you first got your license?
Most of us spend hours each week waiting for a myriad of services and products to be delivered, and without fail much of that time is unproductive and often accompanied with frustration.
While you’re waiting take a quick inventory of what’s going on with you at that moment. Try looking for pockets of tension and stress in your body. Recognizing where you’re carrying tightness and tension is the first step to releasing it
As you scan for tension also engage in breathing deeply which will help you to release some of the tension. Once you’ve relaxed a bit just sit back and actively observe what’s going on around you. Be aware of colors, sounds, furniture, temperature and the people coming and going.
5. Play Outside. (Put A Dot On A Frisbee)
Get outside with friends or family for a vigorous game of Frisbee or something equally fun for everyone. Add one of the colored dots to the Frisbee or softball bat to remind you to center yourself every time you see.
When you see the colored dot smile and let go of distracting thoughts, don’t push them away just let them go by refocusing on where you are and what you’re doing at the moment.
Bringing yourself back to the moment takes practice, you’ll find your thoughts coming into awareness over and over, when this happens smile and breathe to remind you of the moment. No judgement is needed about the thoughts or content, thoughts are thoughts will slide in and out frequently.
Gardening is a great activity for sharpening up your mindfulness. Remember to take your time as you dig in the dirt really paying attention to how the dirt feels along with the feelings of the tools and plants you’re working with.
Put a colored dot on the handle of your most used tools as a reminder to bring your attention back from thinking to what you are doing in the moment.
7. On Your Bicycle
Put one of the colored dots in the center your handlebar stem. As you are pedaling along your route you’ll notice the colored dot as a reminder to bring your attention to your riding form.
Are you thinking about things other than riding, if so bring your attention to your pedaling motion, how your hands are gripping the handlebars, your sitting position. The more you focus on your form the more efficiently you’ll ride making the whole experience richer and more fun.
8. Looking In A Mirror
People have told me that putting a dot in the corner of their household mirrors is the perfect place to catch their attention and help them come back to the moment.
We often look into the mirror when we are worried or in a hurry, this makes it an ideal place to catch ourselves when our thoughts are racing. Take a few deep breaths are you gaze into the mirror and let go of the stress you’re carrying.
9. While Hiking (Place A Dot On A Water Bottle)
I like to keep some of my focus on the feeling of each foot touching the ground and lifting off for another step. I keep the rhythmic touch in my awareness yet I still can look around at natures beauty. I also have a colored dot on my water bottle as an extra way to remind me
10. Change Your Icon
This is an easy change to do. Change a few of the app icons on your phone into some that will remind you to smile and breathe deep when you see them. Try having one reminder icon on each page on your phone, that way you’ll be reminded to focus on the moment each time you look at the your phone.
Envelop yourself with verve and passion each day and always remember to loosen your grip on your thinking mind and move deeper into being present as you practice mindfulness.
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