Once the basic skill of focusing on the present moment is achieved, progress can be made to the skills of switching attention between objects, and distinguishing between thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations (p71).
Inner-outer experience – is an exercise that helps us to shift attention back and forth in a mindful intentional way between what is experienced internally such as physical sensations and thoughts, and what is experienced externally such as want we notice with our eyes, ears, nose and sense of touch. The first part of the exercise involves focusing for 1-2 minutes on an object in the room, studying it visually, imagining how it would feel to touch, and describing the object in detail silently in language. The second part of the exercise involves switching back and forth between an inward focus on the body and its sensations, followed by an outward focus on the stimuli coming from the room and outside - working through the senses of hearing, smell and touch. In total this involves 3 cycles each of approximately 2-3 minutes (p71).
Three minute thought record – involves just that – making a brief note, just 1 or 2 words, referring to every thought that comes into your head in a 3 minute period (p72).
Thought defusion – helps you to mindfully observe your thoughts without getting hooked on them. With practice this skill gives you more freedom to choose which thoughts you want to focus on and which you want to let go. The exercise is to imagine thoughts being attached to objects that harmlessly float away such as clouds in the sky or leaves floating in a stream, or objects that you pass while you are moving such as advertising billboards. The concept of radical acceptance is key here. The coming of thoughts is not criticised and their content is not judged. They are just observed coming and going (p73).
Focus shifting helps you to identify what you are focusing on in your moment to moment stream of awareness, by mindfully shifting your attention back and forth, especially between emotions and the senses (p78). This assists us to choose what we will focus on, enabling us to separate our present moment experience from what is happening inside emotionally (p78-79).
Mindful breathing teaches us you to separate your thoughts from you emotions and physical sensations. This is particularly useful when you are distracted by your thoughts. As an exercise Mindful breathing involves sitting quietly and focusing on the breathe, taking slow long breaths and paying attention to the sensations as the breath flows in through our nose and out through the mouth, as it fills and empties from the lungs and abdomen (p80-81).
Mindful awareness of emotions begins by focusing on the breathing for 4 or 5 long breathes then shifting the attention to how you feel emotionally in the present moment. Start with the general sense of good or bad, happy or sad. Then observe and describe the emotion more precisely. Consult with the List of Emotions if you can’t think of any. Notice the nuances of feeling or perhaps the threads of other emotions. Notice how the intensity of the emotion may rise and fall like a wave. Ideally you should observe the feeling until it significantly changes in quality or strength (p81-82).