Mindfulness, or paying attention to what you are doing while you are doing it, has been shown over and over again to make people happier. I know this. I tell clients this. Does that mean that I always remember to practice it? Nope!
I spent some time recently thinking about what I could do to help people remember to be mindful - even for just one moment each day. I was reading this great book “the mindfulness solution: everyday practices for everyday problems” and read the following bit: “Mindfulness allows us to experience the richness of the moments of our lives. We actually smell the roses, taste our food, notice the sunset, and feel our connections to others each day.” Hmm . . . roses . . . food . . . sunsets . . . obviously, I was immediately reminded of instagram. So I dashed off to my instagram account to do a search for people posting daily mindfulness stuff. I found - to my disbelief - that no one was doing it.
Within a half hour my new @citta_psychotherapy instagram account was up and running, and I’ve been posting pictures with the hashtag #mindfulmoment ever since. My goal is to remind, encourage and inspire people to take at least one moment to be mindful every day. This doesn’t mean just taking an artful photo and using the hashtag. It means being mindful of what is happening in that moment, either while you are looking at my picture (what are you feeling? What memories does it trigger? What are you doing right now?) but also when you post a picture with the #mindfulmoment tag.
I heard an interview on NPR some time ago where they were talking about how we are sort of predisposed to be less engaged with what we are experiencing if we are recording it for future use. What they are finding is that we don’t actually remember the vacation, because we were just taking pictures of it the whole time. Or the gourmet meal, or the beautiful sunset - whatever it is, our brains know they don’t need to record it if we are recording it externally. And that means we aren’t really taking in the experience. The interviewee on NPR said that it is easy to overcome this predisposition, by consciously paying attention to (or being mindful of) what we are taking photos of. So this is my hope - that by encouraging the use of the #mindfulmoment hashtag, you will be reminded to pause and experience the moment, to feel what is stirred in you while looking at or posting a photo.
I’d love for you to join the #mindfulmoment movement. You can follow me at @cittapsychotherapy, or search the #mindfulmoment tag - and post your own!
I'm a mindfulness based psychotherapist in Seattle.