Beginner's Mind to Promote a Positive Mindset
Today’s practical therapy technique is to take a BEGINNER’S MIND to difficult situations.
Beginner’s Mind is a technique we use in Dialectical Behavior Therapy which is a take off of a Zen Buddhist practice of keeping your childlike openness and readiness to experience what’s coming your way.
Remember the first time you played a new game as a child? Met new friends in the neighborhood? Your first day in school, or your first time at Disneyland? Most of us have at least one pleasant memory of the childlike wonder and joy we felt when we experienced something for the first time as a kid. This not only helps with creativity but also helps to bring a feeling of joy and contentment to everyday things that we encounter.
As adults, many things feel routine, boring, a chore. But as a kid, it all feels new. Kids are inherently curious. They ask a lot of questions. They seek understanding. And we would do well to sometimes return ourselves to that type of mindset.
I love this quote by Shunryu Suzuki - “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” So don’t shut yourself down to alternate points of view or reconsidering the information in front of you. Approach boring, lovely, and difficult situations with wonderment and watch your world open up in ways you’ve haven’t experienced before.
Try it with your cup of coffee in the morning, while you’re doing the laundry, or when you come across a noteworthy article online. Ask questions, be mindful, stay present, and be ready to experience all that life has to offer.