It suddenly struck me: I wanted to make the most of every moment. I wanted to decrease the moments I felt anxious and increase the moments I felt content and in the flow. I decided to get into a practicing mindfulness experiment.
So what would I do differently through this experiment? I would be paying attention to how I feel. And I would operate under different priorities with “feeling good” coming first.
Practicing Mindfulness & my relationship to e-mail
Right from day 1 of practicing mindfulness I discovered my sensistive spot: e-mail. I felt a strong urge to check it, and anxious while my e-mail was loading and I was waiting to see if there was something new. Anxiousness was the opposite of “feeling good”. Checking e-mail is fine if you feel good, but is not ok if you feel anxious.
The urge to check e-mail was irresistible on two specific times of the day:
Checking e-mail was the first thing I would do in the morning – before coffee, and sometimes even before using the bathroom! It was also the first thing I would do after the gym. I would get in the house and immediately reach for the Gmail app in my tablet.
Through the rest of the day I was not particularly addicted to e-mail. I wasn’t checking it all the time, and I didn’t feel anxious when I was checking it. It was those two moments – after waking up and coming back from the gym, that I was, literally, addicted to e-mail.
Break the habit: The art of pausing.
I needed to break the habit but I couldn’t just do it. I tried not to check e-mail but the urge was almost irresistible. I couldn’t just stop checking my e-mail after I woke up or after the gym. So I found another way to make change happen: I would pause and wait for 30 seconds or so before I actually tapped the Gmail tab on my tablet.
I wouldn’t count to 30, and I wouldn’t set a timer. I would just sit on the couch with the tablet in my hands and wait. My mind would roam. Or, maybe I would focus on my breathing.
But as I did that the feeling of anxiousness was smoothing out. It was decreasing. And I felt better. After a little while, when I actually tapped on the Gmail icon, I wouldn’t feel anxious anymore. I felt that I was ok, that everything was ok. I didn’t feel content necessarily, but I didn’t feel anxious either.
Practicing mindfulness: Results after two weeks.
After two weeks of experimenting with practicing mindfulness, I can now resist the urge to check e-mail when I wake up and when I come home from the gym. In the morning, I can make my coffee first, and then, check e-mail. I can also skip checking e-mail after the gym quite easily.
In addition, when I am checking e-mail I am not feeling anxious. I feel fine!
I am on the right path
I will keep practicing mindfulness because I know that there are quite a few untapped “feel good moments” throughout the day that I could take advantage of.
Living my life while feeling good is way too important not to pay attention. Join me?
P.S. What a coincidence! Right after I got started with this mindfulness experiment, I found out that my friend John Muldoon from MonthlyExperiments.com was also getting into a practicing mindfulness experiment for the month of December. He is doing this along with Kristen Ruvnik. Learn how others are doing in the Mindful December experiment here.
Photo credit: mindfulness