Mindfulness Moments

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It’s Friday. The sun is shining. Most of us set off to work thinking about the weekend. It is typical to head into a busy Friday counting the moments until the workday is done, watching the clock until 5:00 comes around. While it’s certainly understandable to look forward to the leisure time that the weekend provides, when we are only “working for the weekend,” as the old Loverboy song suggests, we are missing out on so what is right here, right now.

There are 168 hours a week, and if we get 8 hours of sleep each night, we spend about a third of those hours in Dreamland. For those of us with a full-time work week, another 40 of those hours are spent at the workplace. That means, about 30% of our waking hours are spent at work. If during those hours, we are focused primarily on getting back home, we are literally missing out on a big chunk of our lives!

Mindfulness practice helps us enjoy our lives to the fullest by directing us to make the most out of the present moment, wherever we are. While there are many ways to practice mindfulness, one of my favorite ways to bring myself back into the present is to focus on the senses. Today, I urge you to take a few occasions to engage fully with the present moment by using the following exercise. Try it right now to get a feel for it.

In this moment, notice your breathing. Let yourself become still and quiet. Become aware of your own heart beating. Now, notice your body. Become aware of the feeling of your body in the chair that you’re sitting on. Notice the sensation in your back…in your legs….in your feet. Now notice a feeling, any feeling, that you might not have noticed before. Right now, I feel a tingling in my fingertips on the keyboard.

Next, notice what is in your field of vision. Don’t simply label what you see and move on (I see a computer, I see a shelf), but really become aware of the shapes, colors, and details of the things that you see. Try to become aware of a nuance or detail of something that you had not previously noticed.

Move on to your hearing. Become aware of the sounds around you. Again, don’t label them or look for their sources, just notice. Right now, I hear a humming and a crackling in my office, a whooshing outside my window, and a grumbling in my belly.

Now, notice a smell if you can. I smell the aroma of my coffee, as well of the scent of my shampoo.

Next, see if you can notice a flavor lingering in your mouth.

Practice these moments of mindfulness throughout the day to make the most of your Friday, and every day.

By Dr. Marla Cohen 03/15/2013 08:48 AM

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