Three Foot Tosses for Mindfulness
We play a basketball game in our program where people are asked to take three shots from a marker that is three, six, nine, twelve, or fifteen feet away from the basketball hoop. When you sink a basket, you make positive points, if you miss, you make negative points. The point of the game is to make the most positive points you can. Each marker is equivalent to the number of points you make. For example, from the six-foot spot, you would make six points for each make. Where would you attempt to shoot three shots from?
I have a friend who would hang out from not the 15-foot area but from 30 feet because of the possible high reward. Just imagine 90 points! Wow! That would create wild riches if money was involved. However, this is a risk and if you were to make just one shot it would be amazing, three would almost be an impossibility – NBA players excluded.
Living life from trying 30-foot miracle shots would be uncertain, stressful, and lead to a lot of frustration. The point of our game is taking the three-foot toss because it is guaranteed to be a slam dunk each time.
But, where is the challenge in that? Isn’t life about taking some risk? Well, actually it depends on you. Do you want to live a risky life, or do you want to keep building success upon success and be happy?
When we have a dream, it is important to break down the action steps into three-foot tosses. This is how people get graduate degrees, open a business, and even date. Do you rush to the ultimate goal right off the bat? This doesn’t create the foundation for success in relationships, school, or business. Plus, it makes the journey stressful and unstable. Stepping through life incrementally, instead of making the big scheme, can make the journey actually enjoyable.
How often do you enjoy your life? Enjoy what you are doing? Even enjoy who you are with? As we take each three-foot toss we have the opportunity to make the toss fun, loving, and enjoyable. This is referred to as mindfulness. Can you make it an intention to enjoy what you are doing regardless? Why not enjoy doing your dishes, taking out the trash, or even cleaning the toilet? I used to clean swimming pools to work myself through school and one of my clients called me the Zen Poolman, which actually fit me to a tee. If you need to do something, you do have the choice to enjoy yourself.
Enjoying yourself no matter what takes some practice. Can you imagine yourself enjoying taking a test in school, talking with a family member or acquaintance you just can’t stand? It is possible if you set the intention to do so. I had problems with my stepmother for years, learned about setting intentions before any social interaction, and our conversations from that point were uplifting. That was because I chose to be happy and at peace.
What is it that you want to accomplish in your life? Better mental health, sobriety, a relationship, a better job? Then break it down into three-foot tosses which would be easy, like a slam dunk for you to do. For example, if you are looking for a job, working at your resume for 15 minutes would be a slam dunk. Making 3 phone calls to potential jobs in a day would be another. And so on. Map out what you need to do and then do it. Of course, befriend yourself along the way.
Why is the befriending part so important? Because this is your time. If the goal is to get a degree in order to be happy, you may be missing out on the happiness of the journey to that degree. Happiness is wired into everybody and we have the ability to bring it to the surface. When we are happy we are stronger too. It is proven that with happiness the body gets enhanced. If you feel worn out all the time, your attitude may be a big contributing factor.
Ultimately it boils down to believing you can obtain your dreams. Here is where therapy may be needed. Many people we treat don’t believe they deserve to be happy. They may have done something that they continue to punish themselves about, or have bought into the belief that life is all about suffering and only certain people are good enough to get what they want. This needs to be processed through. No one is better or worse than you. We are all the same. Who told you that life was about suffering? Life can be about love, happiness, and caring for yourself and others if that is your desire.
Why not dream? Why not take the action steps towards what you desire? Someday you may actually arrive at your dream. How great would that be?
Compassionate Care is Always Available
There are many more tools and strategies you can use in your pursuit of happiness. Here is where we come in. Contact us at Basic Steps Mental Health and let us support and educate you on this journey back to your loving heart center. Imagine living a heart-centered life, regardless of what is happening externally. We’d love to be of help.
For 25 years, Dr. Scott Alpert, the clinical director of Basic Steps Mental Health, has treated over 7,000 people with mental health and addiction problems, using a Psychological approach that mixes and matches ten of the top approaches used in the industry. We are here virtually and in-person to help you get through this COVID-19 pandemic and many other difficulties you may be experiencing.
May you have good mental health.