This is part 2 of Gifts to Yourself. I will be talking about being present.
However, mindfulness and present moment in regards to psychological flexibility is about being with your experience. Consequently, if you are experiencing an intense feeling, sensation, memory or worry the objective is to allow room within yourself for the experience to be. Yes, that is correct; it is not to get rid of the intense feeling. It is to notice it with the observing mind.
Take a moment to remember a really painful moment. Bring into your memory the incident with as much detail as possible. Now notice how your posture changes. Go ahead take a break from reading to be with your painful memory. Did you notice the urge to close in to protect our vulnerable heart? This is a natural response. However, as we close in there is less room to let the experience be. It is like an overfilled balloon ready to burst. The feeling I notice is a tightening which increases the intensity.
So here are 10 breaths you can take to help you learn to be present as the observer. I call the observer the curious scientist as if I am watching me as I am. It is call defusion when talking about psychological flexibility. Now take 10 seconds of noticing with each breath.
- Notice your feet.
- Notice what position your legs are in.
- Notice the position and curvature of your spine.
- Notice the rhythm, speed and depth of your breathing.
- Notice the position of your arms.
- Notice what you feel in your neck and shoulders.
- Notice your body temperature and which parts of your body feel warmest and coolest.
- Notice the air on your skin.
- Scan your body from head to toe and notice is there’s any stiffness, tension, pain or discomfort anywhere.
- Scan your body from head to toe and notice if there are any pleasant or comfortable sensations.
If your mind starts to chatter while you are taking the 10 breaths for 10 seconds, just notice the chatter and bring your self back to the observer of experience to notice. The above exercise is from Russ Harris’ book The Happiness Trap