Policing the Mind?
Watching your own mind as well as getting on with the daily demands of life is both one of the most challenging and yet most important skills we can develop. Here are some quick wins to brighten up our inner world:
- Practice focussing your attention – Find a quiet spot, set a 3 minute alarm and choose a small, unremarkable object to observe: how much can you notice and can you last until the alarm? This builds up our mental ‘muscle’ so we can…
- Learn non-doing – It’s easy to get involved in things we actually don’t need to at all. Can you watch your body breathing 5 in-breaths and 5 out-breaths without taking over control and forcing the breath?
- Be in your body – Often, we are only aware of our body when something goes wrong with it (like pain) or when we are criticising it. Make a commitment to appreciating bodily joy in all its forms: the heat of a cup of tea in your hands, the fit of your favourite jumper, the comfort of a big chair, the friendliness of a good quality hug or the first sip of a freshly poured pint.
- Don’t take yourself so seriously – If we are honest about life and the universe, we all pretty much want the same things: to be cared about, to be safe and to be happy. Remember that and it all becomes a little bit friendlier.
- Accept change – Everything comes into being and then fades; including our thoughts (they typically last about 3 seconds), our intentions, our fears and our loved ones. There is little we can do to change what’s past or what’s around the corner, but we can throw ourselves 100% into right now.
Being present is our chance to wake up, look after and enjoy the best friend we can ever have; our own brain.