The Monkey Mind: That endless stream of troubling thoughts or other distracting chatter can zap confidence, preventing a person from focusing on what is truly important.
In today’s fast-paced world of multi-tasking, working lunches and drive thru dinners, attention spans seem to be getting shorter and shorter.
But, with a little mindfulness, the monkey can be tamed.
“Mindfulness means paying attention,” said Lalli Dana Drobny. She teaches classes in mindfulness as well as other subjects at Santa Barbara City College.
Drobny, who has been meditating for 25 years, started offering mindfulness classes in Santa Barbara about eight years ago as a public service
“Because I knew how important it was, and I had seen the difference in my own life.”
Intention is an important component of mindfulness, so Drobny asks students to choose one goal for class.
“Everyone who comes to my mindfulness classes comes for a reason,” she said.
They want to handle their (physical or emotional) pain, they are distracted or angry, they can’t focus, or they want to be able to make better decisions.
“They want to change. They aren’t accepting where they are. (But) it’s a paradox. Because mindfulness is really about accepting what IS in every moment.”
Being ‘in the moment’ can be as easy as sitting quietly and focusing on your breath for a minute or two.
In my Lisa.FM Thrive podcast, Drobny offers three short and simple mindfulness exercises, and the results are remarkable. I was surprised how at ease I felt after just breathing slowly for a couple of minutes.
Drobny suggests bringing mindfulness into daily activities, which can be as simple as paying attention to what you are doing (and thinking) while brushing your teeth, or eating lunch.
“We do a mindfulness eating exercise, where we take four minutes to eat one raisin… You digest your food better, you actually eat a lot less, so it’s good for the environment, good for your budget and things that we are eating.”
A simple mindfulness technique consists of sitting still, feet on the ground. Pay attention to your breath… inhale, pause, exhale, pause… repeat.
It’s okay if your mind wanders, instructs Drobny. Just “kindly, gently, ever so sweetly, bring your attention back to the breath.”
Don’t think you have time for Mindfulness? Think again
“In mindfulness circles there’s a joke,” said Drobny, “If you feel like you don’t have 20 minutes to sit (in meditation) today, sit for 40 minutes. Because time expands.”
Drobny shares a story about one of her students who was having a hard time sitting for a formal 20 minute mindfulness practice. She instructed the woman to incorporate mindfulness into the time she spent with her young child.
“So she was totally mindful as she spoke, watched and listened to her daughter. And, she came back the next week to report that both she and her daughter were happier. So she didn’t add anything extra to her day, she simply did it with a different focus.”
In this podcast, Lalli Dana Drobny walks you through three short and simple mindfulness breathing and focusing exercises.
It’s okay if your mind wanders, just “kindly gently, ever so sweetly, bring your attention back to the breath.”