One Tip for Enhanced Communication: Building Present-Moment Awareness
Present-moment awareness is a practice most closely associated with meditation and mindfulness. While it is helpful, starting a formal meditation practice is not required to build present-moment awareness. You can borrow many of the strategies used by meditation masters to increase the amount of time you spend in the present moment.
Many meditation activities begin with the practitioner turning their focus to their breath. The breath is a great sensation on which to place your attention because it is always there. It is also free! Take a moment to pay attention to your breath. You might notice:
- The rhythmic nature of the breath.
- The rise and fall of your chest or belly as you breathe.
- The sensation of the air entering your nose.
- The sensation of the breath exiting the body.
When you focus attention on noticing the way breathing feels, there is no room in your head for rumination, worry, or self-talk. However, after a few moments of focused attention on the breath, old habits of thinking will begin to pop up. “I have to stop at the store on the way home from work and pick up butter, shampoo, and a birthday gift for little cousin, Kyra.”
As soon as you notice that you are “thinking” rather than paying attention to your breath, you can
1.) Label your thinking by simply saying the word thoughts and
2.) Return your attention to your next breath.
That is the practice of building present-moment awareness. Beginners might be able to focus on their breath for 10 seconds before they begin thinking again. They might get frustrated with their progress, which usually presents as self-talk – Why can’t I do this? You can – just return to the breath without judgment or self-criticism.
As you progress, you may notice longer and longer periods of focus. But be aware – noticing your success is another form of thinking, so don’t follow that thought. Just return to the breath.
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For the article Practicing Present-Moment Awareness, CLICK HERE
For the article Present-Moment Awareness in Communication, CLICK HERE