As I’ve written here before, the negative can stick, or seem larger, than the positive. That applies to thoughts, behaviors, other people, and what we take in through our senses.
The negative can stick, seem larger and more important, than the positive.
That’s why I focus so much on cognitive distortions and remedies/antidotes to them — to assist other people (and myself) in breaking that negative-sticking “habit,” which doesn’t serve us well.
I, personally, experience evidence of that negative sticking every day. I work on unsticking it, making it smaller and less important, everywhere — as I write this blog, at my work, in my relationships, and in my internal experiences.
This past week has been really action-packed. I’ve been doing a lot of “fire-fighting” — responding to unexpected, important developments in the moment. I haven’t had a lot of time to breathe and reflect.
So I would like to do that, right now.
Originally, when I started writing this blog post, I planned to write down some helpful things I had learned at a conference this weekend. I planned to write about some positive things that were sticking (because those can stick, too).
But I think I’ll save that for another post, perhaps later this week.
For now, I’d just like to invite myself — and you — to do a mindfulness exercise I really like.
Just focus on your breathing, without changing it in any way.
And as you breathe in, think of something you’d like to take in more of — from the place where you are or from the universe in general.
As you breath out, think of something you’d like to start letting go of.
For example, when I do this exercise, I often take in — as I’m breathing in — the present moment. Or the other people who are present with me while I’m doing the exercise. Or a sense of peace.
When I breath out, I often let go of anxiety. Or self-judgment. Or anything that gets in the way of my being in the present moment.
Before I start any mindfulness exercise, I remind myself and others that minds will wander throughout the exercise …. that mindfulness is not about being perfectly focused. It’s about constantly and gently redirecting your thoughts and attention to the task at hand. I also remind people that there is no right or wrong way to do any mindfulness exercise, and that whatever happens during the exercise …. you’re doing it correctly.
Usually, I start and end each mindfulness exercise with a chime. Here, I’m going to use a YouTube piece (about six minutes long) of birds chirping. (I checked out several possibilities, and liked this one the best.) So you can start the mindfulness exercise by pressing the start button below, and then focusing on your breath, as described above. You can close your eyes, since the end of the bird sounds will signal the end of the exercise. (If you prefer, you could just do a listening mindfulness exercise: that is, forget about focusing on your breathing, and just focus on what you hear.)
Okay? Remember, whatever happens during the time, you’re doing it correctly …
Thank you for joining me here, today.