One-Mindfully

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We have talked about doing one thing at a time.  That is often easier said than done, when many of us have busy days, busy job, families, and lots of demands on our time, not to mention the feelings from the past, flashbacks, worries from the present and fears about the future.  I think the thing to do is to start in very small ways. If we have a conversation with someone and we find ourselves drifting to something that happened that morning, then pull our attention back to what's happening now, and later make ourselves a place to think about that worry from this morning.

If we are in therapy and find ourselves thinking about how we are going to deal with the kids when we get home, that really sabotages our therapy. We could either talk about that worry in therapy, or put it away to deal with after therapy, maybe stop in a coffee shop somewhere on the way home and take some time to think.

I am an obsessive thinker, and I know how hard it can be to keep my attention in the present, but try your best. You will get so much more out of the present moment if you can give it your full attention, and so will the other people you're involved with.

Try letting go of distractions that come to you. Those thoughts, worries, strong feelings, fear.  Try to just let go again. Take some long, slow, deep breaths (try the exercise at the top of this page), and let those thoughts and feelings out with the breaths. If they come back, do it again. Each time they come back, do it again. At some point, you will get control.

Concentrate your mind. If you find yourself doing two things at once, just stop, and choose one of those things to do at a time.  As you practice, it will get easier.

Thought stopping. Tell the intrusive or bothersome thoughts to go away, many times, if necessary. It feels very good when I am only dealing with one activity or set of thoughts
at a time.


 

Exercises
  • Watch for situations in your life when you are doing more than one thing at the same time.
  • Practice these techniques for concentrating on one thing at a time. Aim for just a few minutes at first.
  • Notice those times when you are one mindfully paying attention to just one thing.  How does that feel?
  • Try one of these:  Watch a flower.
                           Watch the rain dripping down the window.
                           Watch trees blowing in a storm.
                           Watch a new litter of kittens or puppies.
                           Watch a new baby sleeping.
                           Listen to someone drumming.
                           Listen to someone play the flute.
                           Watch a campfire.
                           Listen to ocean waves.
                           Listen to a loud clock.
                           Breathe mindfully.
       Watch or listen one-mindfully. Don't think, just watch or listen. Afterwards think about what it was like to watch or listen one-mindfully.
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