Monday Mindfulness: Drown Out Negativity in 8 Easy Steps

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Welcome back to Monday Mindfulness, brought to you by Stop, Breathe & Think.

Going into a new week is tough. We believe the best way to start it off right is with a little peace of mind. Here’s one quick and simple way to establish emotional wellness, every day.

Engaging your senses is a wonderful way to feel more settled and calm, simply by noticing and experiencing things as they are, without reacting to or judging them. This is a great alternative if you have a hard time sitting still or focusing on your breath. Focusing on body sensations and the senses can be an effective way to redirect attention from negative self-talk, fears and worries to help create some distance from anxious, repetitive thoughts.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Meet each of your sensory experiences with open curiosity, using observational adjectives such as a color, large/small, hard/soft, hot/cold, sweet/sour, shiny/matte, rough/smooth, wet/dry, loud/quiet or light/heavy.

2. Try to avoid judgmental adjectives like ugly/pretty, good/bad, normal/weird, stupid, smelly, scary, gross or annoying. 

3. Make a note of any tendencies to label your experiences as good or bad, and with like or dislike — let those judgments go, and then gently bring your attention back to each of your senses.

4. Focus your awareness on your surroundings, wherever you are.

5. Look around, and take notice of what you see. Just observe the variety of colors, shapes and textures. 

6. Then focus your awareness on sound. As you listen, just notice what you hear. Try listening to the quietest sound you hear or the loudest sound you hear. 

7. Next, focus your awareness on your sense of smell. What do you smell? How many different scents can you detect? 

8. Finally, bring your awareness to your sense of touch. Reach down and touch the floor or ground beneath you with your fingertips. Notice how many different sensations you feel.

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You can engage your senses anywhere — while sitting at your desk or driving in your car, for example, or while waiting in line. You might find it helpful to use a guided audio track to get started. Try this short, five-minute engaging your senses track (above) by Stop, Breathe & Think, or download the app to access a variety of mindfulness activities.

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