Don’t get hooked by a wandering mind. When we are sleepwalking, not focused, not paying attention, our mind can wander to thoughts of the past, anxieties of the future and negativity about what we can or can’t do. When this happens we can get hooked, triggered or caught up in problems, insecurities, delusion. By working mindfulness, we have the opportunity to focus more, become aware of our wandering mind and bring it back to the breath, body, and thinking that helps us to return home to ourselves.
When we work mindfulness, with every breath we take, we can make wiser decisions. At this moment, this very minute, there are infinite possibilities. If we can only wake up to possibilities and become aware, awake and alive, we can notice our reactions, responses, body, thoughts of mind, and feelings. We can become the observer of our thoughts, physical bodies, and emotions. When not focused, our minds can get caught by stories or feeling states, that hook us, pull us out of our mindful state, and hook us like fish on a line.
With mindfulness, we grow our awareness, our meta-awareness, our sense of being aware of being aware. Mindfulness helps us to observe a situation calmly, to notice when our mind wanders, and consciously choose how we wish to respond to the situation. This awareness of awareness is the very thing that enables us to view our experiences with a sense of consciousness and presence. Meta-awareness plays a central role in mechanisms such as attention regulations and emotional regulation. With it, we are better able to monitor where our attention is at, moment by moment so that we can redirect the focus of attention to the task at hand. While experiencing meta-awareness:
- We are conscious of all our mental processes. The awareness helps us monitor them and discover the different patterns in them. This helps us develop better attitudes that promote effectiveness, positivity, and intelligence.
- We can observe all the contents and processes of experiences as they arise.
- We are aware of all our bodily sensations.
- Meta-awareness helps us acquire more information accurately, increase our understanding of the body, and enables us to live in the moment. Our senses are keener and we notice more details.
- We are aware of our ability levels.
How to develop meta-awareness
- Self-talks: This helps by keeping you on track with your tasks. Develop self-talk around sticking to your tasks and periodically check in to see if they match your intentions.
- Mindfulness practices: The more you practice mindfulness the easier it is to notice your thoughts and bring them back to the present moment.
- Use interrupting alarms. You can set alarms on intervals of say 5 to 20 minutes. If your mind wanders, the alarm will help bring it back to consciousness.
Mindfulness increases our ability to focus and control awareness at the present moment. It involves the observation of internal and external stimuli as they arise and change. It also helps us to improve cognitive flexibility including meta-cognitive insight which refers to the development of greater intuitive understanding and awareness of our own thinking processes.