How many times have you walked into a room with your body but left your mind focused elsewhere?
Perhaps you were heading into a meeting with colleagues but still thinking about a difficult conversation with your partner; or maybe as you were sitting down to dinner with family, your mind was racing with worry for the future. Our minds have the ability to think and plan for the future and also, reminisce and review what has happened in the past. This ability serves us in many ways, but it can also hijack us in staying fully present in the moment.
Sprinkle your day with practice.
Moments of transition present us with an opportunity to pause and arrive to the moment right in front of us. TAKE 5 is a quick grounding practice, simply take five breaths to bring the body and mind together, notice how you feel and set an intention to experience what is happening in the moment. About to sit down to dinner? Taking five breaths can open your heart to set the intention to listen and laugh. Preparing for an important meeting? Taking five breaths can give you a little space to focus on what you want to communicate.
Try TAKE 5.
Start by choosing a time of day to practice and build from there.
- Integrate five breaths into your nighttime routine. Creating space to move from daytime busyness to evening rest can be a rejuvenating practice. Sit at the end of your bed with one hand on your lap, palm facing up. Each time you take a full cycle of breath, fold one finger down. Once all 5 of your fingers are folded, take a moment to notice how you feel, open your eyes and set off to sleep.
Next time you are getting ready to meet your friends online, pause to TAKE 5 and notice what is present for you. Is there something you want to share that makes you feel nervous? Invite your friends to explore this practice with you by playing this simple recording.
- Next time you find yourself heading to the grocery store, give yourself space to take 5 slow breaths before walking into the store. Notice your surroundings, both inner and outer and acknowledge that whatever you are feeling is OK.
Get to know your feelings.
Checking in with yourself throughout the day with this short practice can build compassionate understanding of the ups and downs of our daily lives over time. It’s ok to feel anxious, sad, angry, happy, neutral or lonely. The better able you are at identifying what you are feeling in any given moment, the better able you will be at taking care of yourself, no matter what shows up.
Take good care and TAKE 5!
By Leah Gardiner, Executive Director & Lead Trainer at Mindfulness Without Borders – a charitable organization that facilitates programs and workshops to strengthen social and emotional intelligence and secular mindfulness in youth and the adults that surround them.