This is the third part of our series on mindful practices for stress-relief. By mindfulness, we basically mean bringing one’s attention and focus into the present moment with an attitude of openness and non-judgment. In Part 1, we discussed how cultivating mindfulness can help with stress relief and reducing anxiety. One of the best ways to do that is with some mindful breathing. In Part 2, we discussed the simple practice of becoming aware of the present moment.
This week’s mindful practice is called the RED LIGHT MEDITATION
Most of us spend a significant amount of our time in the car or on the bus, driving from one place to another. Driving through traffic or road construction can contribute significantly to our stress level. So, next time you find yourself sitting in traffic or at a red light, use the opportunity to practice some mindfulness. It will not only help to decrease your stress level, but it can also help break the monotony of the commute.
How it works: As you’re sitting there, bring your attention back to your breath. Take a look around you. Where are you? What do you notice about the scene in front of you? What do you notice about your thoughts? Are you actually paying attention to what is happening? How does your body feel in this moment?
Why do it: It’s an opportunity to regroup and come back to the present moment. Most of us “dissociate” to some extent while driving, especially when we are traveling a route that we take often. We operate on “autopilot” and become so focused on getting from point A to B that we miss the whole journey in between. Ever have the experience of arriving home and not really remembering the process of getting there? Bingo! It’s because we are in our heads so much of the time. Using the red lights, or something similar, is a way to break out of autopilot and become present with what is happening. Who knows? In savoring the beauty of the outdoor world – radiant fall colors, a flock of geese, or a beautiful sunset – You might notice you’re feeling better!