When worries seem mountainous, tuning into mindfulness and focusing on what you can feel, hear and see can bring peace and calm
Attention – bring your attention to your feet. Feel their pressure on the ground. Pay attention to each foot – how your weight is shared between them, how your feet feel and whether they’re in socks or shoes. There’s no need to form an opinion on or change anything about them. You’re simply noticing your feet, one at a time, giving them your attention rather than your worries.
Feel – if you were deep in worry when you began this exercise you will find your mind pulling back to previous thoughts, returning to those worries. However many times this happens, when you notice, simply bring your attention back to your feet, their weight, their existence. Don’t get frustrated. Just notice you’ve drifted to worrying thoughts and bring your attention back to the exercise.
Hear – the next step is to move your attention from your feet to what you can hear. It could be conversation, traffic, stairs or music on the radio. Single out and notice each one in turn. You don’t need to identify who’s making the sound or imagine what could be going on to create the noise. Just observe the noise. If you’re in a quiet space, notice if your clothes make a sound as you breathe or listen to your inhalations and exhalations.
See – now you’re going to move your focus again, this time bringing your attention to what is visible. Name what you can see either out loud or in your mind – for example, a red door, a cracked pavement, a motorbike, a street sign – one by one. When your mind darts off to your worry again, bring it back to what you can see around you.
You can move through feeling, hearing and seeing, taking each one in turn, as many times as needed. Give your attention to something you can feel, then one sound you can hear, then name one item you can see, then back to what you can feel again. Your mind will pull away many times. This is normal. When you notice your thoughts have moved away from your senses, simply come back to what you can see, hear or feel.