Obsessive thinking, when you feel your mind spinning and not stopping, is a huge
challenge in our culture of “get it done right now!” I know that when I’m off my game, I
can spend just as much time worrying about getting something done as I spend doing it.
One technique to stop obsessive thinking is to practice mindfulness. So much has
been written about mindfulness by scholars, psychologists, and physicians who see the
great benefits of calming the mind through present-moment awareness. But it cannot all
be captured in words. In simple terms, mindfulness consists of paying attention to an
experience from moment to moment—without drifting into thoughts of the past, concerns
about the future, or getting caught up in thoughts or opinions about what’s going on. It is
non-judgmental or pre-judgmental interaction with our internal and external environment.
It is based upon repeated practice and real-life experience that you can activate at any time.
Easy Mindfulness Practices
• Throughout the day and before you go to sleep, take in a series of breaths. Instead of allowing your mind to wander over the day’s concerns, direct your attention to your breathing; focus on the breath, concentrating on the feeling in the body, on the repetitive motion. Be mindful of the breath.
• Pay attention to your breathing or your environment when the phone rings, when you
get an email, or when there is a knock on the door. I have my computer configured to announce the time on the hour, and at that time, I remember to be mindful.
• Eat your lunch in a quiet place with no distractions. Focus on the look, texture, taste,
and smell of the food. Notice if it feels good going down. Notice the environment
and how it impacts your digestion and interest in your food.
• Find a task that you do impatiently or unconsciously (i.e., waiting at a crosswalk or red light, standing in line, or washing the dishes) and concentrate on the experience as it is happening. Pay attention to sensory details: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Fully experience the sensation of slowing down for that moment.
Mindful awareness is key in practicing the principals of Unfear. Awareness of your emotions and observation of your reactions helps arrest negative fear based behaviors and allows for higher level response leadership using the four practices of Unfear .