Are your inner thoughts calm, supportive, and helpful, or do you have a lot of negative self-talk? Is your inner dialogue a never-ending stream, or are you able to control it?
For many people, errant thoughts pop into their heads when they least want them to or when they’re doing something that requires intense focus. Try as we might to concentrate, our minds wander. The nature of our thoughts is also important. Some people have a stream of positive encouragement or affirmations: “You’ve got this!” “Come on, just one more strong hour!” Others have a never-ending flow of negative self-talk: “Idiot! What are you thinking?!” We need to pay attention to both the amount of inner dialogue we have and its nature.
Although technology has resulted in a decrease in the amount of communication that happens in person, it is still a critical aspect of how we interact. When something is important or sensitive, we handle it face to face.
But how many of us are skillful in the art of conversation—not just small talk, but meaningful conversation that transcends the narratives in our head and the need to steer the conversation to our benefit?
You know those people you always have a good time with? People you can always pick up where you left off with, no matter what the circumstances? People you are completely at ease with? Think about how comfortable you feel when you’re with these people.
Do you ever feel this comfortable when you’re by yourself?
There are a lot of elements that go into the very best relationships. There has to be respect, honesty, appreciation, and a welcoming attitude. These elements happen automatically with people who make us happy.
Are these elements present when we’re alone? Do we show ourselves the same respect, honesty, and appreciation? Do we welcome our time alone?
For many of us, unless a scent is extremely strong, extremely pleasant, or extremely unpleasant, we don’t pay much attention to it. Even with our limited sense of smell (compared to many animals), there is a wide range of smells in the world that we can enjoy, that can provide information, and that can become another universe for us to explore.
There are many variants out there of the Five Senses Mindfulness exercise, in which the participant focuses on each of their five senses in turn. It’s a great exercise in mindfulness and a good starting point for being more mindful of our senses, but if we can expand this idea into our regular moment-to-moment mindfulness, it will result in whole new worlds opening up to us.