Submitted by Allison Allen
I hope you had a great weekend and were able to enjoy the sunny, summery weather we are currently enjoying. We tend to feel better in the summer, for lots of reasons, and it’s great to soak that up. At the same time, this is a great time to see our non-mindful, not present moment focused minds kick into gear. For example: enjoying the nice weather? Watch to see how often you or those around you start fretting about how fast the summer is going by. Seriously! It is not even July yet and we are anxiously anticipating November. We can fritter away some very pleasant times by failing to just soak them up.
Another example of our mind’s natural negative bias that summer weather highlights pertains to the temperature. All winter we hear how cold it is. “Brrr! It’s 15 degrees outside but with wind chill, it’s a horrible 10 below!!” Right? But in the summer, have you ever heard anyone say “man, it’s so hot! 85 degrees! BUT, thankfully, with wind chill it feels like it’s only 72.” I know I never have. Instead, we look at how much hotter humidity makes us feel. This is just how the mind works, but once we notice it we are much less susceptible to it.
Summer is a time when we northern folks tend to thrive, and in particular during this pandemic, the ability to get outside, meet others more safely, and have more fun has been very welcome. We can boost the benefit we get by working on staying in the present moment just a little more effectively. When worrying about fall, take a breath, look around and notice the loveliness of right now. When we take in the present moment more fully we are storing away goodness for the times ahead, and reducing stress, all at once.
So, keep your eyes open for a chance to comment on the wind chill, just to confuse the people around you, and soak up some vitamin D. It will do you good!
Allison Allen is NorthLakes Chief Behavioral Health Officer