One great way to get present is to practice noticing your breathing. Breathing is one thing we do constantly, but often subconsciously. Take a moment today to stop, and without trying to change anything, just notice:
the pacing of your breath (fast or slow)
the depth of your breathing (shallow or deep)
how your body moves as you breathe (your chest/belly rising and falling)
the sensation of air flowing in and out of your nose (cool in, warm out)
the sound of air as you inhale and exhale
If you get distracted by external noises or internal thoughts, just acknowledge that they pulled your attention away, and refocus on your next breath.
Get present today by trying the following exercise:
At some point today, pause what you are doing and connect with the present moment. Name 5 things you can see in your environment. Then, find 4 things you can feel with your hands. Next, identify 3 things that you can hear. Now, explore 2 things you can smell. Lastly, bring your attention to your mouth and see if there’s 1 thing you can taste. At the end of the exercise, notice what it was like to notice these things.
Today’s challenge references The ACT Matrix (Polk & Shoendorf) from Webinar #2. See if you can keep track of your fraction of “Towards” vs. “Away” moves each day. Think of these as percentages of the day. How much of your day are you spending moving towards what matters vs. away from pain/discomfort?
Use the Valued Living Fraction worksheet under Webinar #2 to track this over the week and see if you are in control of your van or if you unknowingly have shifted into autopilot. Knowing your fractions will help increase your awareness and prevent those pesky passengers from sneakily taking control of your wheel!
Feeling like your emotions are whipping up a “stuck storm?” Use the S.T.O.P. handout under Week #2’s webinar to help ground yourself using a willingness approach and get back on course for pursuing your values.
Visual reminders of our values can serve as a helpful way to connect with them each day. If you are feeling crafty you can create a vision board by using cut outs from magazines or newspapers and gluing them to a sheet of paper. You can also create a virtual version using web images or clip art and then printing it out.
Rather than pictures or words of specific material things that you hope to gain, pick things that symbolize valuedqualities. For example, if you value family- pick things that symbolize why family is important to you and what kind of a family member you want to be (e.g., caring, supportive, loving, etc.) You can include values for as many domains as you want (e.g., family, friends, romantic relationships, work, health, self-care, etc.)
Post your vision board in a place where you will see it every day (e.g., on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror, next to your bed). Each day when you wake up, look at it and set your daily intention based on one of the values you included.
Imagine you are a mountain climber and are in the process of climbing a large mountain. You’ve been climbing your mountain all your life. Thus far, you have seen some beautiful things along the way such as rare flowers, breath taking views, and majestic wildlife. You’ve also encountered a number of challenges as you make your way to the top such as ditches, slippery mud, snow storms, crumbling rocks, and equipment malfunctions. At times, you might have felt stuck. Maybe you were unsure what direction to go in or were feeling fatigued and unable to continue climbing. Even though these challenging times have happened, with each new challenge, you’ve become a stronger, more skillful climber.
As you look around, you’re surrounded by other mountains and they extend as far as you can see. Each mountain has its own climber slowly making their way up their mountain. Because no two mountains are exactly the same, each climber encounters their own challenges and successes. It’s likely that other climbers have felt the same way you have during difficult times.
As you might have guessed, this is a metaphor for the journey that we all take in life. We are all mountain climbers trying to make our way up our mountain of meaning. Your challenge for today, is to see if you can remind yourself of this as you interact with other people. Remind yourself that just like you, they are also encountering their own successes and challenges. In service of being a supportive climber, see if you can offer support to one other person today. Maybe sending a text to a friend or family member to let them know you are thinking of them. Or thanking a coworker, essential store worker, or neighbor. Maybe giving praise to a child or significant other. Happy climbing!!