Mindfulness: the art of calming down

As I was watching my daughter's soccer game, missing her goal to coach my son's game, then out to lunch with friends and finally driving quickly to hockey practice, I realized how busy life can be. It is in that moment I wondered how many people take the time to "smell the roses". In the age of technology we have the answer to everything at our fingertips, so why are we as a society so nervous, jittery, and feeling unfulfilled? Why do we feel the need to fill our days with schedule appointments and activities? What does it mean to smell the roses anyway?

Researchers say that the average individual has 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts each day. That is between 2,000 to 3,000 thoughts per hour and 33 to 50 thoughts per minute. In just 60 seconds your brain is experiencing up to 50 different thoughts. Mindfulness is a term for being aware of what is going on around you in that moment. Using your 7 senses of sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch, spacial orientation and balance, you can redirect your mind from the 60 thoughts per minute to what is actually happening around you in the present. So instead of thinking about the laundry that needs to get done, what to cook for dinner, and how will I get all my work done, I am focusing my thoughts on how my fingers feel on the keyboard, the sounds of keys going up and down, the words that appear on the screen, the smell of the La Croix next to me, the taste of cran-rasperry, and how I am balanced sitting on the stool.

Having just spent a few minutes focused on what I am doing right now I have lost sight on what I have not done or what I have to do. I am able to pay attention to this task and feel accomplished about being present with all of you. In a sense my mind is full of my space in the world right now. I am less anxious and with a calm sense in my body I can move forward with what I need to do next. I wasted less time because I put aside my 50 fleeting thoughts for the minute. So next time you notice your mind wandering, take a moment to smell the roses.

Andrea Begin, LPC

Andrea Begin, LPC

Andrea has over 16 years of counseling experience in a variety of settings. Andrea has a MA in Counseling Psychology and Counseling Education from University of Colorado.

Read More