After I described the central part of the mindfulness exercises and headspace it is time to move ahead to the last tasks from the ABC of Mindfulness.
The fifth one is about the consequences of making a decision. In the previous step we learned about the choice how we want to deal with our feelings, and this move is how to handle the responsibility of our decisions.
It is very simple: to every action, there is a reaction. Our goal here is to get aware of it and to make mindfulness decisions.
What is a mindfulness decision?
It is a decision made in a state of awareness, in here and now.
Awareness is about our feelings but also about our body, the people around us and so on. When we are present and aware of what we feel and how does it feel, we can decide how to act further.
Here is an example: you work on a presentation for a project that you love. It is an important presentation; it should be well prepared, best performed, it is a big issue for you to get it perfect! You work hard, stay long in the office, work even on the weekend, but you don’t see how you would hit the deadline. You start being nervous about it.
What could you do?
You could keep working hard, work more and more hours, spend whole weekends in the office, get less sleep, become more nervous and even stress, just do everything possible to hit that deadline. Probably you would succeed. But would that means for you?
How would your boss and co-worker see this?
You would be proud of yourself. And exhausted.
Your boss would like your work as well. One possible way for him would be to give you another job like this with an even shorter deadline because you’ve done this one. Another possibility is for him to say, well it was a great job, but I don’t like that you kill yourself like this. You don’t know it.
Another possible way for you to act would be to ask for help. On the one hand, you will admit to yourself that you can’t handle with this amount of work. On the contrary showing, weakness is a reaction, which probably your boss will appreciate.
There is a third way as well, to keep working, hoping that someone will offer you help which you are going to admit immediately.
Well, I am not going to tell you which is the right answer, this is not the point. The point is to find our what you want to decide, in awareness, consciously.
How does the 5th exercise work?
When you wake up in the morning focus your attention on your body, as described in step 2 and then shift the attention to your feelings. Become aware of where in the body you feel your emotions, as in exercise 3.
Without thinking of your feelings try to get aware how you rate this sense: pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. Don’t think of it, just be aware of your rate.
In the next step try to decide what you’d like to do next – get up, or stay a bit long in bed, have a shower or first coffee, etc.
Instead of jumping up to this task make a pause. Stay as you are and finishes the exercise when you bring the attention back to the body, to his current position and the contact with the surroundings.
Repeat the exercise a few time a day, when it’s comfortable for you.
Be aware of body – Be aware of feeling
Be aware of feeling in body
Be aware of judgements
Make a decision – Pause
Be aware of body
Enjoy making decisions and stay aware!