How to Handle Difficult Emotions Part 3: Mindful Activity
Being Present in the Moment
When I wash the dishes each evening, I tend to be "in my head" as I'm doing it, thinking about what I have to do, what I've done earlier in the day, worrying about future events, or regretful thoughts about the past. Again, my young daughter comes along. "Listen to those bubbles, Mummy. They're fun!" She reminds me often to be more mindful. Washing up is becoming a routine (practice of) mindful activity for me. I notice the temperature of the water and how it feels on my skin, the texture of the bubbles on my skin, and yes, I can hear the bubbles as they softly pop continually. The sounds of the water as I take out and put the dishes into the water. The smoothness of the plates and the texture of the sponge. Just noticing what I might not normally notice.
A mindful walk brings new pleasures. Walking is something most of us do at some time during the day. We can practice, even if only for a couple of minutes at a time, mindful walking. Rather than be "in our heads", we can look around and notice what we see, hear, sense. We might notice the sensations in our own body just through the act of walking. Noticing the sensations and movement of our feet, legs, arms, head and body as we take each step. Notice our breathing. Thoughts will continuously intrude, but we can just notice them, and then bring our attention back to our walking.
The more we practice, perhaps the more, initially at least, we will notice those thoughts intruding, and that's okay. The only aim of mindful activity is to continually bring our attention back to the activity, noticing those sensations, from outside and within us.
* Check back next week for part 4!
Artwork by Michael Parkes