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I’m thinking that a lot of us are going to have remember our mindfulness skills and breathing exercises after last night’s election results! >.< ack

3 Mindfulness skills

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That everyone can benefit from. On happier I have been taking the course 7 Happier Habits. Yesterday when I could, I watched the video on savoring moments. Which, to a DBT Facilitator, sounded like mindfulness. Mindfulness is learning to stay in the moment, to not think about yesterday, a month ago or even living in the past. The past is over. Some people like to look ahead, that’s fine, but don’t forget to stay in the moment.  Here’s a lovely quote that I always enjoy: Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present. ~ Bill Keane

I asked my friends on Happier if they wanted a few skills that I teach, and the answer was a yes. I’m quite passionate about teaching and sharing DBT skills, I truly believe that everyone can benefit from these skills. 😀

Exercise 1- Mindfulness walk.
You get to get out and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine on this one. And that’s part of the exercise.
Go outside, and just stand there for a moment. Close your eyes, and feel. What do you feel? What do you hear? What do you smell?
And then you go for a walk, but here’s the thing, you might not know that there is a correct way to walk. A lot of people don’t. You should walk heel to toe. And for the first couple of times, you really need to focus on that. Heel to toe, heel to toe. After you have reached your halfway point, stop, close your eyes, and ask yourself again, what do you feel, what do you hear, what do you smell, and how do I feel?  Take a few cleansing breathes, in through your nose, using your diaphragm, and then exhale slowly out through your mouth. Go back to walking and when you reach the end, it’s time to ask yourself; how do I feel now? Do you feel better, less stressed, not as many aches and pains. What do you notice? Smells, warmth, breezes?
I have my people write down how they felt before, aches, stress, issues, and then afterwards we update with how they feel now. I watch as they are walking and help to gently correct them. You have to stay in the present to stay focused on walking correctly.

Exercise 2- mmmm the chocolate kiss meditation
I personally like this one, as it uses all five senses. So all of your senses are present in the moment. For this you need, one, well okay, maybe two hershey’s kisses.  We start with a foil wrapped kiss, and start to imagine how it’s going to look, smell and feel. How is it going to taste? Then we slowly unwrap our kisses, and inhale the scent of the chocolate, touch it or slide it gently between your fingers, how does it feel? This next bit is a little tricky, especially for chocoholics. LOL 😀 Place the kiss on your tongue, do not eat it, do not suck on it, just let it sit there, and melt on it’s own.  And, how does this make you feel, how does it feel, what can you smell? Then okay, you get to take a small sliver of it, using a tooth you scrape down the piece on your tongue. And then you are finally allowed to suck on that one little sliver of chocolate. Also keep letting the chocolate melt in your mouth. While you’re doing this, think about how the chocolate came to be. Yep, we’re going a bit in the past, can you see the cacao bean in the field, can you imagine the rain, the sun that helped that bean come to be your chocolate? Imagine the people that farmed and raised that bean, then pulled it to be transported. Those people that are transporting it to the factory, the workers in the factory, transforming beans into chocolate, and the whole trip it goes through to become one little hershey’s kiss. Wow! That’s a lot of work for one kiss. 🙂 By now the chocolate should have melted in your mouth. It has right? You didn’t chew it? LOL yeah, why I said it might take two kisses. 😉  So now you’ve got this melted chocolate in your mouth, how does it feel, how do you feel, what have you been thinking of??? Were you thinking of the trip this little bean came to be a piece of chocolate in your mouth. See we can visit the past and yet still be present in the future. That’s the goal of this exercise, we can visit the past but not stay there. If you were there, you’d be missing this lovely melted kiss in your mouth! 🙂

Exercise 3- This is a bit Mindfulness and Distress Tolerance related, and if you do this with a friend, or your children, then we can add in Interpersonal Skills. If you do this exercise as part of Distress Tolerance, then we can add in Emotional Regulation. I love this exercise, and use it myself a lot! It is one of the few that I can use all four of the DBT skills at one time. So! what is this wonderful exercise?  You might like it, might not, but give it a try.

Coloring!!! Yes, coloring. If you fancy yourself an artist than this is fun. Take a piece of paper and draw something, than grab some crayons, or colored pencils. I don’t want you to use paints at this time. Not starting out, plus there is a reason to use crayons and pencils if someone else  is with you. 😉 Or print something out to color from online, there are a number of sites that have free coloring pages to print out and use. I know, I’ve used them for my people! 😀

And then color! Don’t worry if you go out of the lines, or you are coloring say, Tinkerbelle and you want to color her as a red head and wearing a purple outfit. Go For it! If you’re by yourself, and you thoughts start wandering off, gently nudge yourself back to what you’re doing. Take the time to slowly color your picture, focus on what you are doing, and if you want to get more creative and draw in the background go for it! What are you thinking? What are you feeling? How is your stress level now?
If you have a friend or family member-kids doing this with you. Well then you get to talk, and this is where the interpersonal communication comes in to play. It’s really difficult to stay mad at someone while you’re coloring. I’ve had two people that were annoyed with each other,  have to color on the same page with only one pack of crayons. They have to speak to each other, and then they start giggling, and what do you know, they aren’t annoyed with each other any longer. Parents, your children love you, and would love to spend time with you. Color with them. It’s not an expensive hobby, and it doesn’t take all that much to do: You, them, a coloring book, crayons, pad of paper. Some of my best memories are from the time my parents did this with me. And they never told me I had to color such and such in the correct way.  When this exercise is over compare how you feel now, to when you started, what changed?

Link to my favorite coloring site: Crayola

And what I might be coloring later. 😀
I mentioned Tinkerbelle and now I’m thinking she would look cute in a halloween themed palette. 😀

1825

Oh I’m always curious, if you do print and color her, I’d love to see your work. Seriously!!! 😀

 A giggle! my colored pencils at work. I don’t know if you can read it, but on the package I’ve put: Please do NOT remove from office.

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