Friday, December 19, 2014

Take Back Your Shower Time


Do you watch 60 Minutes? My husband, whose TV diet of Antiques Roadshow, Charlie Rose, etc. could easily be confused with that of your 85-year-old Grandpa's, got me hooked.

On December 14th, 60 Minutes featured a segment on mindfulness. "Anderson Cooper report[ed] on what it's like to try to achieve 'mindfulness,' a self-awareness scientists say is very healthy, but rarely achieved in today's world of digital distractions."

Cooper participated in a mindfulness retreat led by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Kabat-Zinn is an MIT-trained scientist who's been practicing mindfulness for 47 years. Cooper and Kabat-Zinn sat down and discussed what mindfulness is all about: essentially, being present. For example, Kabat-Zinn said, "When your alarm goes off and you jump out of bed, what is the nature of the mind in that moment? Are you already like, 'oh my God,' your calendar pops into your mind and you're driven already, or can you take a moment and just lie in bed and just feel your body breathing. And remember, 'oh yeah, brand new day and I'm still alive.' So, I get out of bed with awareness, brush my teeth with awareness. When you're in the shower next time check and see if you're in the shower."

Cooper responded like many of us would: "what does it mean to check and see if you're in the shower?"


Kabat-Zinn explained that "you may not be [in the shower]. You may be in your first meeting at work. You may have 50 people in the shower with you." (True! Been there, done that.)

I've been learning about mindfulness for a few years, but it was good to be reminded about some basics, like focusing on sudsing up while in the shower instead of worrying about my to-do list. And I happened to read this same tip in the December 2014 issue of Health magazine! In Health's "Best Life Now" section ("the most useful news from the worlds of health, well-being, nutrition, beauty and fitness") Jessamy Hibberd advises readers to "take back your shower time:"

While you lather up in the shower, more often than not your mind is elsewhere--on that comment from a friend that really stung or a talk with your boss that didn't go well. But the thing is, when you're rehashing those conversations, you're inviting those people into the shower with you, turning a potentially pleasant part of your day into just another opportunity for stress. So kick them out! Tomorrow morning, notice the smell of the soap and how nice it feels to massage the shampoo into your scalp. Studies show that being mindful, or tuning in to the moment, like this can help reduce stress and even boost your memory. And when your mind wanders to worries and frustrations, make the choice not to drift.
Happy (mindful) rinsing,
A


Photo of Tereza Kacerova by Miko Lim for Galore Magazine

[Health, December 2014]

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