As a Dialectical Behavioral Therapist and Sensorimotor Psychotherapist, I use mindfulness every day all day. In therapy, out of therapy, while I’m grocery shopping to when I wash my hands. Mindfulness is simply being aware of where your mind is at. Are you thinking about what you said 10 minutes ago, running it in your mind over and over? Are you thinking about what will happen when you get home tonight, can’t wait to watch your favorite show, or thinking about what hanging out with your friends?
All of these are normal parts of the thinking process for us all. The difference is the practice of simply being aware that you are fluttering in thoughts to places other than right now.
What to do?
DBT says many wise things about Mindfulness:
Observe – You can’t do anything if you don’t even know it’s there or that it’s happening. So slow down and observe your surroundings through your 5 senses. Observe what you notice changing in your body, thoughts, and emotions.
Describe – Use factually based words to label your observation. If you cannot observe it, you can not describe it. This prevents us from making assumptions. For example, I can’t describe you having a feeling. I can observe behavioral changes in you; “I see you brighten up and smile when I mention going on vacation!”. I’m observing the behavioral change of what might be happiness or excitement.
Participate – You can not do something mindfully (your mind being present in THIS moment) if you are not 100% doing exactly what you are doing right now in this moment. You can not successfully read this blog post while also successfully engaging in a good conversation.
Mindfulness is the exact opposite of Multi-Tasking.
You might be thinking, “That’s not practical for today’s day and age”. I’d be happy to work with you to gain a deeper understanding of how using mindfulness can actually increase your ability to complete a task, stay focused, and lower anxiety. Mindfulness is basically the best tool ever. So buckle up, it’s gonna get awesome! Additionally, if you want to supercharge your knowledge, join in on the DBT skills group in Cary, NC.