A reader, by the name of Art Gould, wrote to me and asked if he could share a useful self-help tip on mindfulness. I have always enjoyed personal empowerment techniques and was most intrigued by his email. Here is an excerpt from his message…
What a great site! I have been reading Abundance Tapestry for over a year and have found your site to be simply awesome! Your advice has not only helped me navigate through more than a few tough situations but it has enabled me to embrace them as a part of life and learning opportunities. Not only do you have an uncommonly well balanced perspective but you are able to communicate the ideals that guide you thereby helping and guiding others. I especially enjoyed “Keep Holding Onto Faith“, which was such an insightful piece and a wonderful reminder that it is through falling that we learn to fly! I was actually writing today with a suggestion for a guest post.
As a division manager with a national self storage company, I am constantly bombarded with requests from a dynamic group of people. Time and the helpful advice of people such as yourself have helped me to effectively manage the challenges I face every day, but I am actually writing you today because I have come across a strategy that has helped me tremendously. Not only has it brought harmony to my day-to-day tasks, but as a pleasant side effect, it has actually increased my productivity.
I was curious for more details by Art and asked him to send his tip over. His response….
Bells of Mindfulness
Stress: “a physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension”.
We all experience stress to one degree or another. Some of us experience more of it than others. Stress can be a very clever enemy. Sometimes it sneaks up on you. Very often it takes on disguises and foreign identities. About six months ago, I got a bad case of the hives. I started seeing dermatologists and using all kinds of creams and lotions but those things did a much better job of clearing my wallet than clearing my skin. To compound my health woes, I soon began having episodes where my heart would beat rapidly and I would become short of breath. After undergoing numerous tests to rule out numerous causes, I had a long talk with my doctor. And what I found out was that my breathing problems and my skin problems were actually related to each other. They were both being caused by the same thing: you guessed it, stress.
Running a business is tough and in these hard economic times, so is getting customers. As much as I love and enjoy my work, it was no surprise to me that stress had begun to take its toll. And I know full well that I am not alone. I see many of my clients and customers who are undergoing their own personal battles on many different fronts: parenting, budgeting, changing jobs, dealing with a loss, coping with medical issues, you name it. And the economy sure isn’t helping either. All of these things are stress-inducing and cause various forms of anxiety which all of us would like to reduce or eliminate. So the big question: how can we do this?
One of my customers told me about something that worked wonders for her. She called it the “bells of mindfulness” approach. It starts with the realization that bells are everywhere; we are always hearing them. Church bells are one good example but there are many varieties of sounds we hear all the time which can loosely be classified as “bells”. Phones ring, doorbells buzz, alarm clocks go off, cell phones vibrate, timers resonate, etc.
To use her approach, you need to do what many very religious people do when they hear the sound of a ringing bell: use it as a reminder to take a brief moment to pause, take a breath, and reflect. First, you should choose a particular kind of “bell”; more precisely, some kind of sound (or even a visual or tactile event) that occurs at a time not known to you beforehand. My first instinct was to put to good use the ubiquitous “ding” noise that I hear on my computer every time an incoming email arrives. Every time I heard it, I would stop what I was doing, look out the window, take a few deep breaths, and try to focus and concentrate on the sensation of my breath as it entered and exited my nostrils. The entire exercise would only last about five seconds, but during those five seconds I would in effect be doing a mini-meditation.
After faithfully following this routine for a couple of days, I found that every time I returned to what I had been doing, my focus was much sharper and I felt a whole lot more relaxed. I began resisting the temptation to try to do ten things at once; instead, I was able to focus calmly and confidently on one important task at a time. I began feeling less anxious. Surprisingly, my various health problems began to slowly melt away. My hives disappeared on their own, without the assistance of any creams, lotions, or prescription medications. My heart palpitation episodes (or more accurately, what my doctor referred to as “panic attacks”) also became things of the past. Simply put, the system worked wonders for my overall well-being!
My fascination with the effectiveness of the “bells of mindfulness” system was so profound that I decided to look for other random events that I could use as my “bells”. It turns out that there are really several of them that surround all of us on a daily basis. Here are a few that I have used successfully:
the alert notification of an incoming text message on my cell phone
the “ding” of a microwave
the sound of a car alarm being set
my dog’s bark
a chirp from bird just outside my window
A great resource I found is a site called Mindfulness that will generate the sound of a bell at either regular or random intervals. It is operated by the Washington Mindfulness Community and uses software which resides at the site and does not have to be downloaded or installed on your computer.
Art Gould is a division manager with Self Storage Company, which operates a group of websites, including a Texas self storage locator. Art leads a stressful life, consumed meetings and conference calls. As a result, he has a strong interest in organization, balancing work and home life, and reducing stress.
I relate the “Bells of Mindfulness” to a NLP concept known as anchoring. Anchors can be positive or negative. It can be made as a useful reminder as in the Bells of Mindfulness tip. To apply this tip, you are essentially linking an external experience with a habit that you wish to cultivate.
More can be understood about the use of anchors in a previously written post here: NLP Anchors.
Thank you, Art, for sharing how Bells of Mindfulness have helped you with being mindful and consequently, reduced stress.
It feels awesome to receive email messages like the one from Art. I have been blessed with reader support ever since I started this site. It’s great to receive emails almost on a daily basis from people around the world who shared that they have benefited from this site in some way.
Which brings me to how you can further support this site. I will be most happy if you can help me spread the word. It is my dream to reach out to a wider audience. The goal is to hit 10,000 subscribers. Please share the link to my site: Abundance Tapestry with anyone whom you think can benefit from the posts that I publish. Thank you in advance
Enjoyed the Tip?
Did you find the tip useful? Do you happen to have other ways to apply the idea of anchoring? If you do, please share!! I will be delighted to hear from you!!