Slow Down, Tune in, Go with the Flow

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, March 14, 2018
By Todd D. Giardina, PH. D

You’ve had mindful moments. You’ve already practiced mindfulness. You just don’t realize it.

And you don’t realize it because you were just BEING, and not thinking. You were not trying to be mindful. And that’s why you were so present in that moment!

Remember that amazing girls trip last summer?! Or the time your kid took his first steps? Or the bread at that little bakery in Paris?!

When we make deep, vivid memories we are being mindful. When your brain turns off and your senses tune in, you are being mindful. When you stop thinking and start living, you’re being mindful. When you slow down, stop multitasking & lose yourself in a moment, you are mindful. (That sense of “time flies when you’re having fun” is an indicator of being mindfully present, or being in Flow.)

Quick note: Mindfulness and Flow are two buzzwords that hang together. Mindfulness is more about being and Flow about doing, but they both give the feeling of time slowing down. They both involve total engagement with little thought. And both produce detailed memories often with positive mood associations. Flow states are a bit more rare but more powerful. Mindfulness is more a way of being that you can tap into daily.

So here’s my paradoxical advice: Don’t TRY TOO HARD to live mindfully. But put yourself in situations that allow you to be mindfully present.

  • Take less iPhone pics and make more mental snapshots
  • Describe your current moment by taking a factual, five senses inventory
  • Do things you care about…and give more thoughtfulness and care to whatever you’re doing
  • Step out of routine…try new routes to work, different spices in your foods, brush your teeth with the non-dominant hand
  • Let go of the judgmental voice telling you that you “should” be doing something more productive right now
  • Engage with relationships, nature, & visceral experiences. It’s easier to be mindful when skydiving with your lover in the Grand Canyon than when sitting alone on the couch watching The Voice