With Xmas and the New Year round the corner, there will be a peak of fun and activities as well as workplace gatherings and family reunions which are bound to shake us a little bit out of our daily routines and comfort zones. For some this could mean facing more intense peaks and troughs of their moods; experiencing a mix of more fun and more anxiety. The fun part is great but what about the worry and anxiety bits? Do you wish to try a very simple practice to help reduce your unnecessary worries and anxieties? Then try the simple yet powerful mindfulness practice of Notice, Assess, Decide (NAD). More about the NAD later, but here is a quick background as to why this simple practice can be so helpful to everyone.

The Story of Our Thoughts

We all think and no one really knows where thoughts come from. Some thoughts are intentional, focused, constructive and creative, but most of our other thoughts are really wandering ones. These wandering thoughts have the tendency to turn into full blown stories (dramas) with some sort of familiar plot played by us and family, friends, colleagues and various heroes and villains.  The problem is that once the story gathers momentum, our body would not know the difference between reality and our imaginary full blown drama. Our physiology starts to react to the story, we get worried and feel anxious as if something really bad has happened and the danger is clear and present.

This might happen when someone advertently or inadvertently presses your buttons by saying something or ignoring you or cutting you in traffic or taking a contested parking spot in a busy shopping centre, and so on. As the chart below shows, if we are not mindful, we can quickly go to our autopilot mode and react to the other person or to ourselves. Each one of us may react in different ways in different circumstances; what is common though is that any such reaction is associated with negative feelings such as anger, resentment, powerlessness, sadness, guilt, shame and would most likely lead into worry and anxiety.

Story of our thoughts

The NAD Mindfulness Practice

Being mindful, on the other hand, will help us greatly to catch our thoughts as early as possible before they gather momentum and to be in charge rather than fall victim to our own thoughts. We can do a quick assessment whether the thought is of service to us right now in the moment and in this situation or not. Then decide whether to go with the thought or not. Even if we decide to go with the thought, at least it is a conscious decision and the resulting stress would be “good” stress or what is called eustress. In which case we are really responding to the situation rather than reacting to it like when we are not mindful.

Notice Assess Decide mindfulness practice

Well, why not give it a go?

Happy Holidays.

2017-12-11T21:21:26+00:00

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous December 26, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Thanks Hamid, another wise gem! Well done.

  2. Mehdi Soodi December 27, 2016 at 2:19 am

    Good point, great strategy. However, one might find it a bit challenging to put into practice. I for one could really use this skill right now and even after going through this great article a few times – and believe it or not – comprehend the point it is making, I fail to do the NAD :-(

  3. Hamid December 28, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Thanks for your open-hearted comment which I am sure many others could also relate to.
    Yes, while the NAD is simple, it is not easy and could be very challenging. The busier the mind the more challenging. But that is precisely the first benefit of mindfulness practices: to notice how busy the mind is in its ordinary condition. So I should congratulate you for having climbed the first major step. You will get better at it if you keep practicing.
    A regular mindfulness meditation practice will als

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