One of the DBT mindfulness skills includes being effective: Doing what works. Learning how to sit for long periods of time and focus on one thing, such as your breath, can have quite an impact on quieting the mind. However, sitting for long periods of time can be rather difficult for people who are learning how to “be mindful”, and may not be helpful in solving other problems (ie, communicating, reading one’s environment accurately, interpreting behavior).
The persons I tend to treat have difficult with extreme emotion- and sometimes tolerating a single moment can seem like an eternity. The skill of “observing” in mindfulness appears deceptively simple- and yet the actual doing of the observing when it’s needed in real life- as it applies to solving painful problems- is a whole different story.
Observing and describing the cracks on the sidewalk or the ceiling tiles may be a way to be mindful. But here is where it can get tricky:
- It may be an effective way to be present in the moment, to become grounded and connected to what’s going around you, and prevent you from dissociating, “floating off”, or disconnecting.
- It may be a way to distract, avoid, inhibit feeling, occupy the mind, and avoid relationships. If you can become overly focused on things and not people, you can avoid taking emotional risks, connections, and opportunities to address conflict. Noticing a tendency to avoid may be a more effective use of mindful activity.
I’ve been working hard on getting together my free 30 days of mindfulness for my mailing list readers. The approach for learning varies and the agenda includes suggestions for trying new and different things. It’s experiential- which means that you get to participate in the exercises. I’m hoping that it will satisfy those who are looking for ways on how to be mindful as it relates to real life.
All you have to do is click on the upper right side of this blog post where it says Get 7 free steps for sailing through emotional storms when you join my mailing list. Sign up!
The 30 days of mindfulness are going to start February 8, so you will have to sign up before then if you want to be included!