10 Ways to be Mindful Throughout a Busy Day
As I was mindlessly flipping through apps on my phone, I came across this article. Oh the irony. As a clinician I whole-heartedly believe in the positive impact that mindfulness can and does have in my life and in the lives of many of my clients. As a teacher of mindfulness practice one might assume that I can often be found in the lotus position, with an open stance, my awareness honed in on my breath. Not the case. Human beings, by our very nature, are drawn in by our thoughts, our busy schedules, and our worries, predictions, and fears about what’s coming next.
We are all hard wired with an exquisitely sensitive threat detection system that is constantly on the look out for external events, triggers and cues for fear and anxiety. Our caveman and woman ancestors relied on this hardwiring for survival. If one of them was out hunting or gathering and heard a rustling in the bushes, it was to their benefit to run. As the old saying goes, you can have lunch many times, but you can only be lunch once. This threat detection system is equipped with both cognitive and physiological alerts such as increased heart rate, perspiring, hot/cold flashes, and dizziness all of which tell us one thing – we need to fight, flee, or freeze. In modern times we may not have t-rex to fear but we do have plenty of threats in the form of pathogens, financial crisis, complex jobs, bullying, etc. We still rely on our threat detection system to keep us out of harms way.
Some of us know all too well that there are times when our bodies and minds are sending us warning signals when there is no specific trigger or external event to fear. This can get very uncomfortable. Anxiety can interfere with work, personal relationships, and with committed action towards the things we value most. Anxiety can definitely propel us out of our present moment and into a negative or even catastrophic future. It can create a state of mindlessness as opposed to mindful awareness.
The definition of mindfulness that I gravitate towards is taken from John Kabat-Zin’s, The Mindful Way Through Depression. Paying attention to the moment, moment by moment, non-judgmentally. In our practice at CBTDenver we integrate the principles of mindfulness into many of the evidenced-based interventions we use to treat mood and anxiety disorders.
This article caught my attention because it describes 10 ways in which we can integrate mindfulness into our daily lives – into the activities we are doing throughout the day any way.
Awaken, shower, travel, sense, walk, wait, pause, eat, listen, and care. Using our senses to observe these moments and us in these moments, we can bring our attention back to the present and away from the dreaded (and often inaccurate) outcomes that our anxiety is trying to predict. You don’t have to set aside time you don’t have or sit quietly on a mountaintop to engage mindfully. This article was a wonderful reminder to me as well.
I especially resonated with the quote at the end of the article so I will leave you with this:
“Mindfulness won’t interfere with your busyness, but it will give you a welcome and valuable sense of calm and self-possession in the middle of it.”
– Padraid O’Morain, Mindfulness on the Go: Inner Peace in Your Pocket
If you’re looking for expert and compassionate therapists in the Denver, Colorado, area, please contact CBT Denver online or call our office at 303-355-5133 to schedule your appointment.