Excellent article on raising awareness about digital tools (cellphones, email, FB, the Internet, etc) and distraction. (click on link below) http://chronicle.com/article/Youre-Distracted-This/138079/%3E
Wise words on mindfulness by author and long-time meditation instructor Joseph Goldstein.
"Mindfulness is the quality and power of mind that is aware of what's happening — without judgment and without interference. It is like a mirror that simply reflects whatever comes before it. It serves us in the humblest ways, keeping us connected to brushing our teeth or having a cup of tea. It keeps us connected to the people around us, so that we're not simply rushing by them in the busyness of our lives.
We can start the practice of mindfulness meditation with the simple observation and feeling of each breath. Breathing in, we know we're breathing in; breathing out, we know we're breathing out. It's very simple, although not easy. After just a few breaths, we hop on trains of association, getting lost in plans, memories, judgments and fantasies.
This habit of wandering mind is very strong, even though our reveries are often not pleasant and sometimes not even true. As Mark Twain so aptly put it, "Some of the worst things in my life never happened." So we need to train our minds, coming back again and again to the breath, simply beginning again.
Slowly, though, our minds steady and we begin to experience some space of inner calm and peace. This environment of inner stillness makes possible a deeper investigation of our thoughts and emotions. What is a thought— that strange, ephemeral phenomenon that can so dominate our lives? When we look directly at a thought, we see that it is little more than nothing. Yet when it is unnoticed, it wields tremendous power.
Notice the difference between being lost in a thought and being mindful that we're thinking. Becoming aware of the thought is like waking up from a dream or coming out of a movie theater after being absorbed in the story. Through mindfulness, we gradually awaken from the movies of our minds."
The 3 Minute Breathing Space is an effective tool for building in a momentary "pause" at any time during the day, helping us to re-balance and come out of Automatic Pilot mode. And in coming out of Automatic Pilot mode, we can be more in control of/have choice over our responses, come more into the present moment, interrupt unhelpful patterns of rumination, and reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm. You can take a 3 Minute Breathing Space momentary "pause" whenever you need to throughout your day. Research has shown that deciding when and where you are going to "do something" means you are more likely to follow through on your plan, so think about your "when" and "where" for your 3 Minute Breathing Space momentary "pause". You can even put a reminder alert on your phone or computer to help you remember.
Fun fact: You might notice your breathing naturally and easily slowing down, deepening as you take your 3 Minute Space momentary "pause"....this helps to down-regulate your central nervous system - as your outbreath lengthens and slows, so does your heartbeat.
How to take a 3 Minute Breathing Space (Each step lasts about a minute)
Step 1 - Becoming Aware
Start by finding a an alert, yet comfortable position for your
body and close your eyes. (or if this is the first time you are
doing the exercise, you can read the instructions to yourself and
over time, adapt the excercise as you want to.)
Become aware of your body, notice the sensations of your
feet, your hands, the surface upon which you are sitting
or standing. Gently bring your attention to your inner
experience and acknowledge it, asking yourself "what am I
experiencing right now?" Become a gentle observer, just noticing.