I always emphasize how important mindfulness is in your treatment because it is a necessary tool for your recovery. Today, I want to talk about one-mindfulness. I’m a little new to this type of mindfulness/DBT coping strategy because the past nine years of my treatment has been filled with using the tools for distraction and crisis prevention. Luckily enough, I’m at the point in my life where I don’t have to focus on surviving and I can start to learn how to thrive. My past is mostly filled with missed opportunities, poor self-regulation, and trauma so I may have over-used coping strategies such as Stop & TIP because I was focussing on my survival. I’m happy to say that I’m at the point I can start to recognize, name, and feel the immense amount of emotions that run through me every day. Which brings us to one-mindfulness, a practice against multi-tasking.
One-Mindfulness is the practice to focus on one thing at a time without multi-tasking. Multi-tasking doesn’t necessarily mean accomplishing several things at once, but when you have the TV on in the background as you text your friend and write your English paper. When you do more than one thing at a time, we tend to numb our emotions. Instead of just texting our friend, and really think of what we’re saying, we quickly reply and move onto the next thing without even reading our text thoroughly. For example, have you ever texted someone something that didn’t exactly make sense? They may have replied with ‘?‘ or ‘I’m confused‘ because the sentence just didn’t really make sense. This is a product of our lack of one-mindfulness.
When we practice one-mindfulness we are taking a giant leap into our recovery and I won’t lie or sugar coat it…it’s really scary. As someone who has tried to absolutely numb their emotions for nine years, it’s hard to start taking the time to notice them, especially since most of the time my emotions are much too strong or weak for the topic at hand. Becoming one-mindful is still an ongoing practice for me. But I’ve learned how to gently add it to my everyday life. Like right now for example, instead of having the TV on in the background as I write this, I have yoga music gently playing. *I tend to like to have noise on no matter what, which doesn’t mean I’m not being mindful of the situation. I have some sensory issues so having a hum of noise is a coping strategy* Some of the simple ways I’ve incorporated one-mindfulness into my life include…
- When I play TheSims4 (a video game) I no longer have a movie or TV show running in the background. I listen to the “simlish” and pay attention to my characters. I’ve actually found it becomes more enjoyable when my full attention is on the game.
- When I take a taxi somewhere, I no longer have my headphones on. Instead, I listen to the painful silence between me and the driver and even though 90% of the time my skin is crawling with uneasiness I have met some really amazing cab drivers and learned more about their business and lives which often brightens my day.
- In class, instead of having unfinished homework or drafting blog posts in class, I now make my notes the entire screen so I can concentrate on the lecture at hand.
It’s these little ways you can start to bring one-mindfulness into your life that make a big difference. Not only does one-mindfulness help you notice your emotions but it also helps ou accept them.
As I’ve mentioned a few times before, one-mindfulness gives us the blessing of recognizing our emotions. For example, instead of playing a video game and watching a movie, I lay down on my couch with my cat on my lap and a warm blanket as I watch just the movie. I become more involved with the plot and connect with the characters so much stronger than if the movie was just noise in the background. I also get to spend some quality time with my cat, Momo.
Taking the time out of your day to really feel your emotions can be incredibly hard. I never thought I would be able to recognize, feel, and get through any emotion in my life – ever. But when I opened my mind to one-mindfulness I started to have fun with it. It was almost like a challenge. I would sit down and enjoy what I was doing. Instead of texting my girlfriend when she’s out, we now call which I personally enjoy because texting is often easily misunderstood, and hearing her voice is so much better than reading a screen. One-mindfulness is scary and it takes a lot of practice, as I said before it’s still an ongoing challenge for me, but as long as you take your time and ease into it, it’ll bring awareness and relaxation into your daily life.
When I was in the hospital, I wasn’t allowed technology. I never had a cell phone or computer, and depending on the unit there was no television. Thinking of that now, it seems almost impossible to live without daily technology but I was lucky to have it taken away from me for so many years. Instead of isolating myself in my room, I would go out into the common room and talk to other patients and instead of greeting them and then looking at our phones, we were forced to communicate and sit in that awkward silence when there was nothing else to talk about…which I soon became accustomed to and started to actually enjoy. I made some of my best friends in the hospital because we really sincerely got to know each other. Instead of playing on our gadgets we would have food fights (where we usually got in a lot of trouble for), instead of texting we would lay on the hospital floor and talk for hours about nothing, instead of watching vines online we shared stories from our past. I’m a lucky millennial to be born in the time of technology but have the experience of living without it.
Sometimes it seems impossible, stupid, annoying, and awkward to start doing one thing but as time goes on you will become accustomed to it. Remember to ease yourself into one-mindfulness as it can be discouraging to jump into it without the proper coping strategies. Also remember that one-mindfulness isn’t a 100% of the time thing and if you need to use the Stop skill, Distraction, TIP, or any emotion regulation or crisis skill…do it. One-mindfulness can take years to master and within those years its likely there will be some times when your emotions are just too strong, and that’s ok. Leave a comment below or join the one-mindfulness challenge to keep this amazing skill in your daily life! Later this week, I will be publishing another one-mindfulness challenge which I hope you will join me in.
Have a good week friends!
Days until The Kindness CHALLENGE
THIS THURSDAY I will be publishing the FIRST of this months Kindness Challenges. Once you sign up with the button above you will be automatically entered to WIN our FIRST “Individualized Coping Box” which will be focussed on relaxation and self-care. At NO cost, the box will be shipped to you with all the unique individualized goodies!