As I mentioned before, my new therapist prescribed a book for me, The Mindful Way through Depression. I’ve only just started reading it, because the Portland Snowpocalypse delayed its arrival via UPS.
I think mindfulness is going to take a lot of re-training for my brain. Author Jon Kabat-Zinn says “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” It also involves using all of your senses to pay attention to what you are experiencing.
I’m not used to taking life one thing at a time; or to concentrating on my physical senses. I keep my brain constantly busy; I read, listen to music, watch TV, or use the computer, and if I have to do something else, I usually add those other things to it.
For instance, taking a walk around the neighborhood is horribly boring. There’s nothing to see, and nothing to do with my brain. Music helps some.
If I have to do housework, I’m usually pushing myself through it using the computer as a reward. It’s something annoying to be gotten through so that I can do more enjoyable things. And so I continue to hate it, and to become depressed over having to do it, and over my not doing it well enough.
If I were practicing mindfulness while doing housework (and I’m not, at least not yet), I might concentrate on the sensations of what I’m doing; what it feels like physically to bend over and pick things up (wait, that might not be good), or to sweep floors clean. I might pay attention to how the hardwood floor looks, and to its texture. I might enjoy the change in how things look and feel as I clean.
I don’t know what I might experience; I haven’t bothered to notice yet. But I suspect it might help to see the housework as a valuable experience in and of itself, rather than as an obstacle to other things.
But meanwhile, I do have a clean floor, because I promised myself a little time with the computer after I cleaned it. Yay, me!