Stop! Stop! Listen. Look. Quietly look at your surroundings.

Take it all in. What do you see?

Look at the colors, shapes, reflections, movements.

What do you hear? Listen to the sounds of the airflow. Are there voices in the other rooms, ticking of clocks, keyboards clattering, birds chirping?

Take a deep breath. What do you smell? Focus your attention on your hands. What do they feel? Shift your focus onto your feet.

Are you grounded or off balance?

Take it all in; stay in the moment, the here-and-now.

Now choose one of the senses. Focus on it alone. Hum, how does it feel? Focus on being calm in the moment.

In the psychology world, this exercise is called “mindfulness.” Mindfulness is a good antidote for anxiety. When we are anxious, our minds are ‘pinballing’ from one thing to the next, worrying about whatever it is we conjure up to be the future or what others are thinking of us or going to do.

Anxiety and worry is ‘out of the moment,’ out in the future or stuck in the past.

The ‘pinball brain’ fills our lives with lots of clutter. Sometimes we invite the clutter like a big welcome mat, or sometimes the clutter of our surroundings is out of our control.

But we do have control over what we allow our minds to do. We can focus on the here and now.

We can focus on one thing at a time. We can focus on joyfulness, peace and calm.

When you are practicing mindfulness, your focus is on this very moment in life.

Your mind calms and you are more able to learn to enjoy the simple pleasures that life brings.

And isn’t that what we all desire in our lives?

Linda Yearout lives in Wellington, and is a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist for Hope’s Place, of Wichita. Contact her online at www.hopesplacecounseling.com.