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Posted on:March 7, 2024 at 01:52 PM

Mindfulness is noticing negative emotions and instead of being reactionary, carefully deciding what to do next for the largest benefit.

Practice in noticing the minute details can quickly turn anger into intrigue or sadness into hope.

This practice is not an aim for happiness, but more like a workout at the gym. Not fun, but you know it will be worth it.

Coarse grained practice can take the form of habit breakers like not using your phone for a week or brushing your teeth with the other hand.

Fine grained practice takes much more time and patience. Here are a few I’ve found quite useful.

  1. Notice the way your tongue moves when you eat or say a certain word. Begin to move your mouth and tongue in a slightly different way. Notice how it changes the way you think about the food or word, how you feel about it.
  2. Notice how a finger moves while you do some habitual task. Slow it down a lot. For example, what does your pointer finger do when pulling on your socks, or turning a shirt inside-out. Is there a way it could move differently to better coordinate with the rest of the hand? What does it feel like to be fully aware of each movement.
  3. Think of a location you use in a habitual way. For example, what drawer do you keep your socks in. What does your body say about that location when you bring it to mind? Do you get hungry? Is it calm and content? What physiological reactions do you notice? To tease out the location itself from the objects it holds you can try moving it. For example, start storing your socks in a different drawer and move your pants or shirts there. What changes in how your body reacts? If you’re having trouble sensing these fine grained details, think of some stranger putting something in that location that does not belong, where in your body do you feel it? What does it feel like? Where does it live in your brain? Do you associate the location with a body part? An emotion? A complicated past?
  4. This last one is a bit niche so you may need to adapt a lot. I work alone in a quiet place and I have some flexibility in how I work. This allowed me the luxury of taking a day to slow EVERYTHING down for a day. Try to be fully present, aware, mindful, of every movement, thought, and action. Set periodic reminders/alerts if you’re afraid of getting caught back up in the flow. When you do something, even the smallest thing like putting down your cup of coffee, do it with care, thought, and intentionality. Not in a way of over analysis, but in a way of making it feel right. The cup should be settled into it’s rightful place, not carelessly land where ever is fastest to move on. Before taking any action, especially opening an app on your computer or phone, take a moment to ask why and do it with full purpose and intentionality. Is this the right time to see if there are any unread emails? Am I seeking some specific piece of information? What will I do if I see an unread message? Notice distractions come and go. Notice how you feel about your workspace after intentionally placing each object on your desk. Notice your efficiency of thought with different types of music playing, or no music at all. Explore things you never considered like cracking open a window in the morning to hear the birds or dimming the lights in the evening. Each piece of input data from sound, light, touch, hunger, etc. can all be given some time and thought to intentionally understand and adjust.