5 Mindfulness Exercises to Calm your Anxiety: Alien Objects
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Alien Objects is a super fun (at least I think so) mindfulness exercise that forces you to take on a whole new perspective on the things around you. Often we see the same things every day. On the road to work we see the same billboards, the same stop lights (or if you’re like me and live on an island without stop lights, you see the same stop signs), the same trees, maybe even the same people if you commute via public transportation. You see the same people, eat the same foods, and hold the same cell phone.
But what if it was all new to you?
Like you had never seen any of it before. Like you had landed on a new planet and it was completely different than Earth.
This is the essence of the Alien Objects exercise.
Everything is BRAND SPANKING NEW.
So I want you to grab something that you see every day. I’m tempted to say grab your phone, but I also don’t want you to be distracted by incoming texts, Facebook or Instagram notifications (or Snapchat for you hip kids), or reminders that you need to send an email.
But using your phone might be the ULTIMATE mindfulness exercise because its so darn tempting.
For the sake of this exercise, I’m going to use the phone. Because its one thing that I know we all have and the one thing that sometimes seems to rule our lives, so it might be fun to gain a little perspective on labeling it a “foreign object” that isn’t attached to our hip.
So grab your phone and just take it in for a second. Feel its weight. How it feels in your hand. The curves. The texture.
Imagine that this is something that you have never done before.
That this object in your hand is brand new, that you’ve never seen it before, that you actually have no idea what it is. That you have no idea what it even does, what its used for, why people would even want it.
Notice everything about the phone. Describe each and every feature of it. How would you describe it to your best friend? How would you tell them about it so that they could picture what you are holding?
Notice how the screen reflects. Notice how the buttons feel under your finger. Notice how it lights up when you press one. Imagine seeing it light up for the first time and your surprise. Why does it light up? What is it for? What can I do with it?
Come back to the color. The textures. The weight of the phone in your hand. Move it around. Describe it again. Do you notice anything different than what you noticed before?
Now, put it down and leave it for a moment.
Imagine that you didn’t need it. That it was just some random object that you picked up on this foreign planet.
<<Whoops, didn’t realize that was going to turn into a meditation on letting go of your phone for a moment.>>
I encourage you to do this briefly with an object every day (or every other day – however often you want, just try to make a small habit out of it). It will not only slow you down for a moment, allow your mind to clear of all the to-do lists and “have tos,” but it will cause your perspective to shift and for gratitude for the things in your life to seep in.