Stop what you are doing and do the following exercise. I promise it won’t take more than a minute and you will learn something about yourself. Sit in a comfortable position in a room where you will not be distracted by sounds. Use a watch or stopwatch to time yourself. Begin timing yourself without looking at the watch or counting time in your head. When you think a minute has passed, stop the timer or check your watch.
Now note how much time actually passed. Did less than a full minute pass? Now consider what that means for you. Are you usually in a hurry because you feel like you don’t have enough time? Or did more than a minute pass? Consider what this means. Do you often find yourself running late? Do you get to work or to appointments late? Mindfulness skills help develop awareness of moment-to-moment experiences, like perception of time. This exercise is one of many ways to become more “mindful”.
Mindfulness is defined as “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgementally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness is also known as meditation and has been a religious practice for thousands of years. Recently mindfulness skills have been incorporated into various forms of psychotherapy. Research has shown it to be effective in reducing symptoms of chronic pain, depression, and anxiety.
Mindfulness is achieved by completely focusing on the present moment, recognizing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, focusing on awareness of the moment, and being able to separate thoughts from emotions and physical awareness.
Emotion mind is when one makes decisions or judgments based on how one feels. This can be problematic when emotions start to control a person’s life because emotions can distort thoughts and cloud one’s judgment. It can lead to making unhealthy decisions.
Reasonable mind is responsible for clear thinking, analyzing the situation, and making rational decisions. Rational thinking is very important when it comes to problem solving and decision making but too much of it can result in lack of emotional expression, which is also unhealthy.
Wise mind refers to the person’s ability to make good decisions about their lives based on rational thoughts and emotions. It is the balance between emotion mind and reasonable mind. Wise mind is similar to what we know as “intuition”. Both intuition and wise mind are described as “gut feelings”. This is the place from where people say they make wise and sensible decisions about their lives.
Mindfulness is an insightful way to get people to understand themselves better and help them achieve their goals. Mindfulness techniques are helpful in alleviating certain symptoms as well as making a person feel more positive about themselves. Start practicing some mindfulness today!