My last post, I discussed why finding your curiosity can be the gateway to personal happiness. Today, I’d like to focus on the how. When we are deliberate in our intention to pay attention in the moment with curiosity, we can see beyond our habitual thoughts and behaviour and create new, healthier ones. Take a typical morning for example. When you wake up, do you jump out of bed and start your day without noticing how you’re feeling? Do you arrive at your first destination without noticing what’s in between?
Let’s reimagine the typical morning with a different scenario.
Imagine waking up and taking a few moments before jumping into action by paying attention to the breath and investigating within. Take a moment to become aware of your thoughts and feelings. Acknowledge them without judgment, then notice how the body is feeling. Constricted, tight, anxious or at ease. Notice with each breath, the invitation to connect deeper with the mind-body experience. You can even put the palm of your hand on your belly and let it rise and fall with each breath.
The first minutes of each morning can become a time to allow your present experience to inform your curiosity.
Spending a moment or two tuning into your body can become a morning ritual by asking simple questions like, “How do I feel right now?” It can give you a reading of your emotions, feelings and physical sensations.
With heightened curiosity, self-awareness is strengthened and you can proceed to the next moment with more insight and clarity.
Now, imagine many more moments of mindfulness and curiosity throughout a given day. Whether you feel stressed, distracted or simply in need of a brain-break, the simplest skill and most important thing you can do is to use a breathing practice to come back to the moment. We have a practice named Take Five that does just that, connecting the body and mind through the use of the breath. Taking just 5 breaths helps slow down the body, regulate our breathing patterns and stabilize our attention in the moment. The Take Five practice is like experiencing a pause and reset, making space to focus on what is needed. Whatever your response, being curious around each experience will help inform your choices on how to navigate it. Even little ones can do the practice with you. Depending on the child’s age, it can become a counting game and can help them regulate their emotions when something has turned their world upside down.
The notion of curiosity comes in after you’ve completed the breathing practice as a way to inquire about your thoughts and sensations. You might ask, “What is the root cause of my experience?” or “What self-care measures can I take?”
So why not start being more curious today? The Take Five practice can be done anywhere, by anyone, at any time. Experiencing this practice and focusing on curiosity can help you see your world through a new lens of possibilities. Who knows? It may even make you feel uplifted or optimistic. It only takes a few minutes. What have you got to lose?
- Turn one hand palm up to the ceiling. This will be the counting hand.
- At the end of each breath in and out, fold a finger or thumb into the palm of the hand until all 5 digits are folded.
- At the end of the five breaths, notice how you feel.
By Theo Koffler, public speaker, author and educator. Koffler is also the founder of Mindfulness Without Borders—a charitable organization that facilitates programs and workshops to strengthen social and emotional intelligence and secular mindfulness in the education, health and corporate sectors.