Focusing on the past can lead to feelings of regret and guilt. Similarly, thinking about the future can create anxiety and worry. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to stay in the present moment—to be mindful. To be mindful means to be aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations without judging or criticizing yourself or your experience. Mindfulness is a great tool for managing cravings, anxiety, and other emotions/experiences that are difficult to handle. Here is a simple mindful breathing exercise to get you started:
Sit or stand in a comfortable position. Slowly inhale through your nose, counting to five. Exhale from your mouth, counting to eight. Repeat several times.
The key to mindfulness is to be present and maintain focus on the moment. Thoughts will come; simply notice them (without judging them) and let them go, returning your attention to your breath. It takes practice, but with time it gets easier and can be a great way to relax.
Try setting aside some time this weekend to practice this exercise. Note your thoughts, feelings and emotional state both before and after. Did you notice any changes?