Our brain is there to help us survive and the Mind is the Brain in action.
Sometimes the things we do don’t make sense. Most times we have no idea why we do them, why we act or react the way we do. It’s not wrong or bad, but we do have the ability to tap into ourSelves simply by becoming aware.
95% of what we do is unconscious, based on habits that we’re not consciously aware of, or take for granted. For example, how mindful are you when tying your shoes, opening a door or driving home from work? Have you ever gotten home and not remembered the drive that got you there? Nothing specific about stopping at red lights or switching lanes or turning corners or the construction that demolished a building you don’t remember seeing.
It’s only once you’ve pulled into your driveway that you’re knocked back into the present moment. You had been driving on auto-pilot. You were driving unconsciously. Likely thinking of all the things you need to do once you get home - groceries, kids activities, facing your spouse after yet another fight, walking the dog and the list goes on.
If you can manage to maneuver over 3000 lbs of metal through an intricate array of turns and stops, using your hands to steer, your feet to speed up or slow down, your eyes to avoid danger and notice stop signs or green lights, and your ears to listen to sirens or the chatter on the radio and not even be present for the experience, imagine what else you’re doing without being aware.
Try this 3 day Mindfulness Challenge
For the next 3 days, pause every hour for just one minute (more often if it doesn’t cause you stress) and verbalize each activity you are doing and any thoughts, feelings and emotions* that are present. Your thoughts and feelings will likely have no correlation to the activity you’re doing and that’s ok, that’s ‘normal’. Your thoughts and feelings however, will be correlated to each other and you’ll begin to recognize the pattern, the link between them.
If your mind wanders, that’s ok, too. Simply bring it back to the present moment and keep doing the practice for one minute.
The purpose of this mindful practice is to become aware of the experience that happens as you become more present.
*Quick explanation of feelings vs emotions:
Feelings: sensations in your body
Emotions: the state of our energy
If you get stuck naming an emotion, you can start with the 5 big, core ones:
5 core emotions:
Scared (fearful, resentment)
Name the activity you are doing
Identify the sensations in your body
Acknowledge the emotion
*I am waking up. I’m thinking about my grocery list. I feel pains in my stomach. I feel excited (for breakfast).
*I am brushing my teeth. I’m thinking about my kids' soccer game. I feel tightness in my chest and my jaw is clenched. I feel stressed.
*I am driving to work. I’m thinking about my project at work. I feel overwhelmed.
*I am yelling at my kids. My heart is beating fast, my face is hot, my head feels tight. I feel angry.
*I am talking with my spouse. My breathing is slow, my shoulders are relaxed, my stomach has butterflies. I feel love.
*I am re-running the argument I had with my colleague. My jaw is clenched, my shoulders are tight and shrugged up near my ears, my breathing is shallow. I feel angry.