Cultivating Awareness: An Exercise

Cultivating Awareness: An Exercise

Mindfulness schmindfulness! What does it even mean to be mindful? Cultivating an awareness of the present moment is something that requires practice, just like lifting weights to become physically stronger. Because thoughts create emotions which lead to physical sensations (more on this later!), being aware of our thoughts can mean the difference between a “bad” day and a “good” one. Becoming aware of your internal dialogue is the first step toward mindfulness. Try this exercise:

1. Catch yourself “being in your head.”
This may look like an ongoing conversation you are having about something, or about what someone said to you yesterday, or even about something you want to do tomorrow.

2. Notice this dialogue, say to yourself “thinking.” Do this gently, meaning don’t get frustrated or grumpy at yourself! Just call it what it is, thinking.

3. Pull your awareness back to what is physically happening RIGHT NOW. Not what you’re thinking right now, but physical sensation in the moment. For example, if I’m driving I might notice the pressure of my hands on the wheel. If I am sitting on the couch I might notice the cushion against my back or the pressure of one leg crossing the other.

4. Rinse and repeat.

Remember, notice your internal dialogue, name it, and pull yourself back to the moment by noticing what is physically happening right now. The success of this exercise is not in staying in the present moment, but in how many times you notice you have left it.

Now, get going! ❤️ Danielle