Today’s Monday Dose of Mindfulness focuses on practicing mindfulness of pleasant events. This involves noticing pleasant events as the are happening and bringing awareness to our experience of them.
We often pay more attention to negative events in our lives and many things that could be experienced as pleasant go unnoticed. By training our brains to be more aware of what is happening around us as each moment unfolds, we can begin to notice more pleasant events. Being fully present in the moment also enables us to derive more satisfaction from our pleasant experiences. Therefore, increasing awareness of pleasant events in our lives naturally leads to an increase in our positive emotions.
As you go through the next week, set the intention to focus your awareness on pleasant events while they are happening. The first step to doing this is to identify a pleasant event. This may take the form of a warm cup of coffee to start your day, walking outside during beautiful weather, chatting with a close friend, or any other of the vast number of events that you may find pleasant.
While the pleasant event is happening, place your attention on what you are experiencing in the present moment. Notice any sights, smells, sounds, and tastes associated with the event. Notice how your body feels. Notice any thoughts and emotions that arise. Allow yourself to fully absorb the experience.
Try to remain in the here-and-now throughout the pleasant event. If your attention starts to wander at any point, try to shift your attention back to the present moment. Remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to practice mindfulness and set the intention to refrain from judgments about your experience. Accept what is without trying to change it. Try to resist comparisons to past experiences or to your ideas of what it could be.
At a later time, record a brief note reflecting on the pleasant event and describing how you experienced it. Taking the extra step of writing your observations down allows more insights to emerge. You may choose to use a "Record of Pleasant Events" (click here to download) to simplify this process and help organize your thoughts.
By being mindful of pleasant events throughout the week you begin to train your brain to recognize and focus on positive experiences. As you continue to deliberately adopt a mindful approach to pleasant events, you may notice a deepening of gratitude and increase in positive emotions.
Remember to check back for more mindfulness exercises on future Mondays!