I’m currently reading a book that a received from a mentor and friend of mine just before leaving for medical school; Attending, by Ronald Epstein. This book is all about mindfulness and the practice of medicine. Throughout the book, Epstein talks about different mindsets, attitudes, and practices that he has adopted or that he has seen that can benefit both patients and physicians, many of which involve taking moments to pause for introspection.
One such practice he mentions is in moments of anxiety or frustration, to stop and ask yourself, Where are my feet? And in doing so bringing awareness to your physical connection to the earth (or lack thereof), your surroundings, and the sensations and position of your body. It’s such a simple question that is very simple to answer, and both the question and the answer themselves seem mundane. But the mundanity is the beauty of it. When my mind begins to wander or to spiral, asking myself to bring my attention to my body helps me refocus and reorient my mind.
What I also appreciate about this practice is the metaphorical nature of it. Where are my feet? doesn’t only have to apply to my physical state, it also makes me think about where I am mentally and emotionally. Am I feeling grounded? What is keeping me grounded? Where are my thoughts? How can I get back on my feet?