Kendra Lewis, Pharm.D., CDE
Message From The Medical Director
In today’s busy world we have been programmed to multitask in an effort to try to get as much done as possible. We talk on the phone while frantically trying to catch up on our emails. We fold laundry while keeping one eye on the kids and another on the television. Some people are even still texting while driving. We need to move away from multi-tasking to focus on one single tasking. The brain can only do one thing well at a time – when doing two things at once they often are both not done to maximum effectiveness. Another thing that happens when rushing to accomplish so many tasks is that we lose our connection to the present moment. We also may miss out on what we are doing or how we feel. We may not notice whether we felt well rested this morning or the fact that the flowers are starting to bloom along our route to work.
What is Mindfulness?
How can Mindfulness be practiced?
Set aside some time. You don’t need a meditation cushion or bench, or any sort of special equipment to access your mindfulness skills—but you do need to set aside some time and space.
Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind, or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement.
Let your judgements roll by. When we notice judgements arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass.
Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.
Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.
Ideally 20 minutes is a great goal to work up to for mindful mediation time. But keep in mind that taking a “moment” to be mindful is a great starting place and can be incorporating throughout your day. Instead of rushing through the below activities, take a moment and be mindful while doing them:
The moment you are in line at a grocery store
The moment you sip your tea or drink your coffee in the morning
The moment before a meeting starts
The moment before a plane takes off
The moment you first wake up in the morning before getting out of bed
The moment you are washing the dishes
There are some stressors in life that we cannot control. But what we can do is control how we respond to them. We can calm the storm within. The cultivation of moment-by-moment awareness of our surrounding environment is a practice that helps us better cope with the difficult thoughts and feelings that cause us stress and anxiety in everyday life. We must however remember, that mindfulness is a practice – it will not come overnight, and although the steps may sound simple they are not necessarily easy. It is important to be gentle with yourself and non-judgmental. But with regular practice, mindfulness offers the gift of being able to live a life fully present, not stuck in the past, or worried about the future…
“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more” ~ Mother Teresa
Mindfulness practice steps adopted from: http://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/