Summertime is finally here! For many of us, the warm weather may provide a much needed respite from the low-energy moods that we may feel in the colder months. Since we only have the warmth for a few short months, it might be beneficial to take advantage of it while it's here, spending more time outdoors or exploring new parts of the city. Mindfulness is a core skill of Dialectical Behavior Therapy that can be used this summer to allow us to be more present and appreciative of the good energy that the warmth brings with it. Mindfulness can be used to ground us in the present moment, fully engage with our surroundings, or notice any sensations or feelings arising within us.
The great thing about mindfulness is that we often engage in it without knowing that we are doing it. The mindful experience is fully immersing ourselves into one task, without multitasking or judging it. For example, this might happen naturally while washing the dishes, doing the laundry, or cooking a meal. Now, we can name these everyday activities as mindful activities and then employ them when we are feeling stressed, anxious, or are lost in our negative thoughts. A great and simple way to practice mindfulness at any time is to engage our senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch) because they can help to ground us in the here and now or fully experience a moment. Here are some ways that we can engage our five senses this summer in New York City:
Mindfulness can be done in many small ways throughout the day. Recognizing opportunities to practice being mindful is the first step in cultivating self-awareness. If we can draw on our mindfulness skills in times of peace, we can more easily apply mindfulness skills when we are experiencing overwhelming emotional or physical responses. Try connecting with your five senses this summer using these examples. As you get more comfortable with identifying opportunities to be mindful, make your own list of mindfulness activities or ways to engage your senses throughout the day!