Psychiatry / therapy

Mindfulness…Pay Attention!

Having been through 20 years of school, including boring classes like history and organic chemistry, I felt confident that I mastered the art of looking interested and looking like you’re paying attention when someone is talking or lecturing.  You look directly at them as they talk, nod your head in approval, throw in a few “uh-huh” and “yes i agree” statements, and before you know it, the talk is over and you have NO clue what they were talking about.  It wasn’t until last month that one of the head Psychiatrists told me that I always appear distracted, especially during lectures.  I was shocked!  Apparently, my inattentiveness was obvious, and caused me to reflect back on the numerous times in my life that I’ve struggled to pay attention…which was practically a daily occurrence.  I haven’t been diagnosed with ADD, but I realized it was time to make a change.  I talked to one of my Child Psychiatry supervisors and she recommended Mindfulness.  What is mindfulness?…

There are different techniques and therapies, but overall Mindfulness involves becoming aware of your mind, body, and emotions, and paying full attention to what you are doing each moment.  Some examples include identifying how one feels when anger is triggered (hands clench, breathing increases, etc) or stress when driving (tight grasp on the steering wheel, neck stiffens, etc…to all you road ragers out there, including me).  I still have much to learn about specific mindfulness techniques (and I’ll be sure to blog about it once I do), but so far at least becoming aware of my mind and body during moments of distraction has helped me IMMENSELY.  I realize I am inattentive when I do the following:  my eyes wander upward and I sigh and let out deeper breaths in boredom.  Now, once I notice my eyes gaze upward, I’m able to recognize it, then relax and take deep breaths to re-focus my mind on the person who is talking.  I’m amazed that such a simple technique can make a huge difference.

Mindfulness exercise of the day–Become aware of a physical habit that you’re usually not aware of:  1)  Did you feel any stress today?  2) What was the trigger and how did your body react to the stress (hyperventilate, muscles tighten, etc)?

Looking out on top of the Space Needle. I’m afraid of heights so my heart was definitely pounding!

5 thoughts on “Mindfulness…Pay Attention!

  1. Very insightful post! So glad a lovely thing called mindfulness is benefiting your professional life…Question is, will you extend your mindfulness techniques when interacting with FAMILY!?! 😉 That’s the true test! hehe!
    I’m interested in reading your info posts on this topic! I have a Marriage and Family Therapy Magazine devoted to Mindfulness and Meditation in Pyschotherapy…you should read it next time you visit! btw…so excited to see you in bout 11 days!!!

  2. Pingback: Mindfulness Candy « Freud & Fashion

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