Monday, August 31, 2015


Mindfulness is something I am reminded of often. I love the simplicity of it as explained in this short article by Dr Sult.

Tom Sult, MD

I already know what you're thinking. My mind is already full. I don't need any more mind-fullness. And the idea that maybe you're going to pull your legs into a full lotus and dislocate both hips seems equally crazy.

Mindfulness is actually a simple thing. It doesn't require that you bend yourself into some strange position or that you chant or any other thing. It simply requires that you be fully present with what you're doing.

So often we are doing one thing while thinking about another thing, or we’re doing three or four things all at the same time. That is not mindfulness. One day, while driving my car between clinics, I was listening to NPR. There was a guy on, an expert in mindfulness. He was making it all so academic, convoluted, and complicated—it was making me crazy. I called in. I stated that mindfulness is a simple concept—it means to do what you're doing. As an example, if you're in the bathroom peeing, you should just pee. You shouldn't balance your checkbook, talk on the phone, or anything else. You should use it as a break to do nothing but what you're doing. You shouldn't do what I was doing at that moment, which was drive a car, listening to the radio, and talk on the phone.

I use my car as a mindfulness capsule. When I get in my car, there's nothing I can do but drive. I could get really uptight about being late, but there's nothing I can do about it. Anything I could've done about being late happened long before I got in the car. I could think about the 35 things that I shouldn't have done that morning or should do that evening, but there's nothing I can do about them right then. So I use that time as an exercise in mindfulness. I try to simply drive and enjoy the time. Whether I'm stuck in traffic or sailing along on a country road, I'm simply fully present.

You see, stress is generally caused from doing one thing when you'd prefer to be doing another. Take the example of being stuck in traffic. Generally speaking, you prefer to be sailing down a country road, but you're not—you're stuck in traffic. The conflict between doing one thing, being stuck in traffic, and wishing to be doing the other thing, sailing down the road, creates stress. A very rapid way to eliminate stress is to let go of those other things that you think you'd prefer to be doing. Because at this moment, you simply can't. So instead, become fully involved and present in precisely what you are doing. The stress doesn't really dissolve, but your relationship to it changes. Anybody who tells you that they can reduce your stress, I think, is wrong. Stress will always be present. But we can change our relationship to stress and how we perceive it.