Have you ever been having a conversation with a friend or family member, yet unable to focus on what they were saying? Sometimes our minds work on overdrive, and it can be hard to silence thoughts about the past or worries about the future and simply focus on the present. In such instances, using a simple mindfulness practice such as the three senses mindfulness activity might help you to focus. This activity is one you can practice anytime, anywhere. All you need to do is use your senses!
When you find yourself feeling stressed, anxious, impatient or otherwise unable to focus, pause and take a few deep breaths. Then, take a few seconds to notice three things you can hear, three things you can see, and three things you can feel.
I often use this mindfulness exercise when out walking in the neighborhood with my dogs, especially if it has been a stressful day at work and I find myself having trouble letting go of thoughts related to work or items on my to-do list. When my mind is too cluttered to notice – much less enjoy – the sights and sounds of being outdoors, I use the three senses mindfulness activity to bring myself back to the moment. Depending on the day or the season, I may feel the sun on my skin, the wind in my hair, or even just the sensation of my feet in my shoes. Sometimes I feel the tension of my dog pulling on his leash! I may see flowers blooming, leaves changing color, clouds in the sky, neighbors working in their yards, or squirrels darting across the street. I may hear cars driving by, birds chirping, or someone using a lawn mower.
How might you use the three senses mindfulness activity in your own life? Do you have children or other family members who might benefit from using this practice? Give it a try! You might just notice something new.