When You Want Something Quick

One of the great things about mindfulness is that it's portable and does not require practitioners to meditate to activate it.  Simply stopping for a moment and tuning in to the immediacy of the moment "counts" as a mindfulness activity.  If you need something fast and want something structured, here are are few ideas for you:

  • S.T.O.P.: 
    • When: Anytime! Especially useful as a response to acute stress
    • What
      • Stopping what you are doing for a moment
      • Taking 1-3 deep breaths
      • Observing what you are feeling without trying to control or stop your feelings. Can you name your feeling? Can you notice a physical response? 
      • Proceed with what you were doing
  • R.A.I.N.:
    • When: Useful when experiencing difficult thoughts or emotions
    • What:
      • Recognizing the difficult thought or emotion
      • Allowing the feelings to be there without pushing them away if possible
      • Investigating your experience without judgement or harsh, critical inner voice to the extent possible
      • Non-identification: Realizing your thoughts and feelings do not define you. They are passing experiences, not realities.
  • 10 Ballons: 
    • When: Useful as a reset at any time, especially during times of general stress
    • What:
      • Sitting or standing comfortably with your eyes closed or gently open
      • Taking a slow, deep breath, and on the exhale, imagining filling up a balloon with your difficulties (stress, negative thoughts or emotions, etc.)
      • Allowing the balloon to "self-seal" and imagining pushing it from you so it can float away on the air.  It might be helpful to actually use your hands to push the imaginary balloon away.
      • Repeating slowly until you have "filled" 10 balloons. Feeling free to rest between balloons so you don't hyperventilate!
  • Be and Know You're Being
    • When: Anytime! Useful throughout the day
    • What:
      • Pausing for a moment
      • Becoming aware of the body right now
      • Being in the moment as a physical body

“The little things? The little moments? They aren't little.” -- Jon Kabat-Zinn