Friday, December 23, 2016

2 mindfulness practices

Lately I've been trying to note behaviors mentally, as opposed to berating myself for them (mentally). With this in mind, here are 2 mindfulness practices I've been using lately:

Phone practice. I mentally note every time I take out my phone when I'm doing something else. This happens a lot when I'm cooking (put the water on to boil, open the phone), and when I'm walking the dog – two activities I've been trying to do more with more attention. I often find that when I take out my phone I'm already at the end of a long strand of distracted thinking – that is, I was already distracted before I took out my phone. 

Irritation practice. With three teenage kids I get a lot of chances to practice this. Irritation, leading to anger, is one of my primary character defects. Usually with anger or irritation the response follows immediately on the heels of the stimulus. So my goal is to mentally note rising irritation, and (hopefully) to be able to pause between feeling the feeling and reacting. So if I get irritated after the sixth stimulus, when last week I would have gotten irritated after the second stimulus, that's progress.  And when I get to 1,000, I win!