John Mulaney, comedian and former Saturday Night Live writer, has a bit in his New in Town comedy special about quicksand. He shares that he worried about quicksand a lot in his childhood. When John shared his childhood concern, I remembered that I, too, had childhood worries of quicksand - how to recognize it and more importantly how to get out of it if I should find myself stuck in it. I spent a lot of time thinking about it. Turns out, quicksand hasn't been that big of a concern as an adult!
How often do we worry about something in the future that may or may not occur? Or how often do we find ourselves thinking about something that has happened in the past? We keep replaying an incident over and over in our minds like we are binge-watching Netflix.
I find when I spend a lot of time ruminating on the past or worrying about what might happen, I am not as effective. I tend to overthink even the simplest decisions or make mistakes that I normally wouldn't make. Mostly, all of the overthinking tends to steal the energy I have for living a joy-filled life.
“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”
Here are two simple techniques I use to bring me back to the here-and-now!
Mindfulness Technique 1: "I am..."
I narrate some of my basic activities with the phrase "I am... drinking a cup of coffee." "I am... typing". "I am... taking the dog out for a walk". When I say this phrase, it interrupts my future or past thoughts. I feel the tension that I am holding in my shoulders or even feel that I am taking shallow breaths.
Try narrating what you are doing right now: "I am..."
Mindfulness Technique 2; "Thinking..."
If you find yourself overthinking, use the simple word "thinking". It's a gentle guide to bring you back to the here-and-now. I learned this word from my mindfulness teacher. She used it when meditating as a way to gently guide yourself back to the meditation. I find it a great way to interrupt the overthinking thought patterns.
These techniques take very little time and make a big difference in how I show up in my daily life! I'd love to know how these work for you!
Are you interested in more Mindfulness techniques? Check out this post.