I recently hosted session one of a four-part workshop series at Studio 614. Here is the Q and A from the exit tickets for “Finding Balance Through Mindfulness,” the first of the “Mindfulness for a Creative Life” workshop series.
How can I use the Wheel of Awareness practice in every day life?
The Wheel of Awareness practice is intended to help differentiate and then integrate the different streams of information (via sensation) that flow through our experiences.
Incorporating it into every day life is as easy as reminding yourself to pause and feel into your experiences. You can ask yourself questions like:
- How is it to hear right now?
- How is it to see?
- How is it to feel?
- How is it to smell or to taste?
Just pause and be with whatever stimulus is available to you in the moment. Notice what affect this has.
What is the best way to stick with a new habit?
These are some tips I share in my workshops about starting a habit:
- Set a specific time and place for your practice each day. Because habit is stronger than motivation, the easier and more consistent you make the practice the more likely you are to hold yourself to it later. Create a space that is comfortable and welcoming (no need to go out and buy anything; your own bed will work). Keep a notebook and a pencil in the space so that you have everything you need when you are ready.
- Let other people in your home know what you are doing. Keeping others in the loop and letting them know why your practice is important to you will help them to respect the time and space you have set aside. It has the added benefit of holding you more accountable because you have shared your goals with other people.
- Mark your progress. Research shows that we are more likely to do something if we see the positive results and feel like we are making progress toward our goals (duh, right?). To this end, spend a few minutes journaling about your feelings and experiences after your formal mindfulness practice each day. Note any progress or effects you have seen in your daily life. Every week, quickly review what you have written and note the progress you have made. This is fuel to keep going.
- Don’t set up false expectations about what your practice will be. It’s not always going to be fun to sit in silence for ten minutes. Let’s compare it to running. I like to run maybe 20-50% of the time. The other 50-80% of the time, I just do it because it is good for me. If you tell yourself you “should” like it, you are setting up false expectations. Just do it. Even if it doesn’t feel good. Like running, once you experience the results in your daily life because you are more fit, then you will be motivated to keep going.
- Take responsibility off of future self and place it with present self. We all have a tendency to overestimate future self. However, more likely than not, future self is not going to do anything present self isn’t willing to do. Don’t project into the future about the person you will be. Just be that person. If you want to start a mindfulness practice, the time is always now.
In today’s educational environment, standardized testing is an inevitable reality for both educators and students. For many, it is also a source of stress and feelings of powerlessness.
As with many environmental factors, this circumstance is not likely to be changed by the individuals most affected any time soon (teachers and students), so it is a good place to explore the tools that we can change: our individual reaction to the circumstances faced.
Here are a few strategies that may be helpful during this testing season. Ways to begin exploring what powerlessness over circumstances brings up for us, and how we can work with it in daily life.
“Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things. When you do that, it puts you in the present. It makes you more sensitive to context and perspective. It’s the essence of engagement. And it’s energy-begetting, not energy-consuming… What’s stressful is all the mindless negative evaluations we make and the worry that we’ll find problems and not be able to solve them.”
– Researcher and professor Ellen Langer, from an interview with the Harvard Business Review