One of the easiest ways to stay alert is to direct your attention to the present moment. Another access point to attract our attention in the moment is to focus on our breathing. It's estimated that 95% of our behavior runs on autopilot, something I call a “fast brain”. This is because neural networks are the basis of all our habits, and they reduce our millions of sensory inputs per second to manageable shortcuts so that we can function in this crazy world.
These predetermined brain signals are like highway signals, so efficient that they often cause us to relapse into old behaviors before we remember what we intended to do instead. Another approach to mindfulness is open awareness, which helps you stay in the present and truly participate in specific moments in life. You can choose any task or time to practice open awareness, such as eating, taking a walk, showering, cooking a meal, or working in the garden. When you participate in these and other similar routine activities, follow these steps.
You can try a series of “If This, Then That” messages to create reminders that are easy to switch to a slow brain. Starting a new habit can be difficult, but with daily mindfulness, you can use mindfulness in small doses throughout the day. Take your first three bites mindfully, experiencing the flavor, flavors, textures, and the amount of pleasure you're getting from a given food. Doing so can change your day, making it more likely that your words, actions and responses, especially during difficult times, are more aware and compassionate.
Cara's experience includes science-backed tools to improve coherence and awareness through mental training and the preparation of the nervous system and the connection between the intestine and the brain. Practicing mindfulness as part of your daily life can have benefits for both your mind and body. You may find that even one-minute mindfulness exercises can make a difference in your mind and mood throughout the day. If you have to stand in line somewhere, put yourself in a state of mindfulness with a message, such as imagining an object you've meditated on.
When you're aware, you're paying attention to what's happening, both inside and outside of you, in the present moment. Mindfulness can be used as a tool in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), meditation, and stress-reduction exercises. If you have drug or alcohol cravings after addiction treatment, you can use mindfulness techniques to cope with it. For example, you might think, “If it's the door to the office, take a deep breath” as a way to switch to mindfulness when you're about to start your workday.
Mindfulness can also be sensory, such as noticing every sound, taste, smell and tactile sensation in your environment and then leaving these impressions. When you begin to practice mindfulness, you may notice that every moment provides an opportunity for a conscious presence. Another great way to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life is to focus on sensations.