My sister passed this article from a teachers website of good reminders to me and thought I’d pass it on. I thought it was an interesting idea when our minds get focused on fear and uncertainty in the future to focus on five things outside of you and try to look at them as “newly” as possible. I tried it and it for me was a kinda of reset. It may not necessarily make the issue go away, but the goal is to feel a little bit better or lighter. Our minds are really powerful about spinning their stories of fear and worry sometimes, so any little tricks to help us not get to attached to our thoughts the better!
Much of the distress in our lives comes from anticipating negative or dangerous events that might happen in the future and as a result failing to be in the present moment in which those events are not happening. Such worry not only undermines an accurate assessment and preparation for what might go wrong as well as undermining the enjoyment of life as it is in the present moment.
Mindfulness is a natural human capacity to pay attention to our experience as it is happening in real time. When we intentionally cultivate this capacity through practice we enhance our ability to focus, to regulate our emotions and to extend compassion and kindness to ourselves and others. When we infuse mindfulness throughout our day we not only reduce our stress and worry, finding better ways to respond to the challenges of life, but we also expand our capacity for joy and wonder.
During non-teaching times throughout the day, instead of checking your phone and email between classes or during lunch or an off period, try taking a mindfulness break using one of these simple strategies:
- Notice five specific things out your window – clouds, students, a kite, birds, cars –and try to see them with fresh eyes and without telling yourself a story about them.
- Take three deep, long breaths inhaling in through the nose and out the mouth to help reduce stress hormones in your body.
- Eat a snack slowly, keeping all your attention on just relaxing and eating.
- If you have a favorite quote, poem or a piece of writing, take a few moments to re-read it to refresh your sense of inspiration and connection to what’s important now.
- Take a “five senses” walk outside. Notice what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel. This sensory awareness will help you return to the present moment.