Most of us already know that a meditation or mindfulness practice serves good health and well being. When I’m working with clients, so often they say, “I’m just not good at meditating.” Well, I’m not either. I think that’s why they call it a practice!
The mind jumps around all over the place. A few breaths and then I’m thinking about the shopping list or who I forgot to call. Back to the breath. They call this “monkey mind.” I think of it like a disobedient puppy I’m trying to teach to heel. She wanders off to sniff an interesting smell, and I have to tug on the leash and pull her back to “Heel.” Again and again.
For now, do whatever is the smallest mindful practice you can muster. If you can only take 3 deep breaths, do that. If you can only listen to one soothing song, do that. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly and take one deep breath. When you can master the smallest increment, see if you can add something to it. Be gentle with yourself.
Here’s a skill you already have: you know how to focus your attention.
Use that skill to take charge of your monkey, puppy dog, anxious mind. Take charge of where you focus your attention. When your anxiety rises, treat that part of you like the disobedient puppy….no we’re not doing that right now. YOU decide what you want to focus on, and then use your skill to stay focused on the subject of your choice.
With so much going on outside to fear, and so much uncertainty about what’s coming next, it too easy to be overtaken by fear and anxiety. Exercise your ability and right to be in charge of your mind.
Don’t let those feelings drag you around like a disobedient pup!