The MAAS assesses two aspects of mindfulness – your attention and your awareness. Following is a simple exercise to develop better awareness to improve attention.
Exercise to build awareness:
- Set alarms on your mobile phones at one-hour intervals from the moment you wake up to the time you retire for the day.
- When an alarm rings, observe your thoughts. Are your actions and thoughts in alignment? Or are you doing one thing and thinking about another? For example, are you washing dishes and thinking about your date in the evening? Are you eating and worrying about a meeting? If you are, you can bring back your thoughts to the present moment.
- For every hour, fill in Worksheet 8. Every time you are mindful, write Y and every time you are unmindful, write N in the appropriate space. In the beginning, you may observe more N entries than Y. But as you become more aware, the number of N’s should decrease and the number of Y’s should increase.
- As days go by and awareness gets stronger, switch pattern from one-hour alarms to alarms at random times. Keep noticing where your thoughts are when the alarm rings.
By the end of the month, if you follow through the exercise diligently, you will become far more aware of your thoughts and will have moved towards better awareness.
In the next chapter, we shall explore one of the relaxation exercises that help in building the mindfulness muscle – progressive muscle relaxation (PMR).
Fill WS8 – developing awareness