For instance, when getting angry at something, instead of letting the feelings accumulate and control me, I would instead take a few deep breaths, then ask myself if getting angry would actually serve a purpose or if it’s just a reflex.
When getting anxious over something, instead of running away from it, I would take a few deep breaths and ask myself if it really was something that should make me anxious or if it’s just a reflex.
These are basically if this, then that patterns, where “that” is always an action that encourages mindfulness.
By consistently implementing these patterns throughout the day, we teach the brain to frequently shift into a mindful state of mind, strengthening the intentional parts of the brain (and weakening the impulsive ones).
These patterns are examples of simple, easily-repeatable actions that can lead to bigger changes, so they are an excellent way of getting used to the habit of mindfulness. Indeed, we are focusing on the cue, not the behaviour.