By: Chelsea Bogda
Are you consumed with planning, worrying, or mindlessly scrolling through your phone? Do you find yourself unable to take a step back and enjoy the present moment? If so, you are not alone! We live in a society where constant stimulation and overbooked schedules are the new “norm.” So much so, that the moments when we try to take a break, we begin to feel as if something is wrong, freezing our stress hormone (cortisol) in a state of alertness. The problem is, without a proper break, we increase our vulnerability to health problems.
Before we hit the panic button and stress about the symptoms of stress, let’s talk about MINDFULNESS!
What is Mindfulness?
“Do not lose yourself in the past. Do not lose yourself in the future. Do not get caught in your anger, worries, or fears. Come back to the present moment, and touch life deeply. This is mindfulness.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
To be mindful means to fill our minds with the present moment. All too often, we focus on the things that we could have done or what we should do. Mindfulness removes judgment and places our attention in the here and now.
If you want to improve mental and physical health, relieve stress, improve sleep, self-regulation, and overall well-being, you might want to consider practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness-based interventions have been used in therapy, starting as early as the 1980s (Hofmann & Gomez, 2017).
When people hear the word mindfulness, they often think of meditation, but meditation is not the only form of mindfulness. There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives, such as going on a mindful walk or engaging in a deep breathing exercise. You can even practice mindfulness while eating.
For more information on mindfulness benefits visit: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner
There are many ways to practice Mindfulness. Here are a few examples to get you started!
Meditation is essentially a workout for our brains! Through regular and consistent practice, we are able to strengthen our minds, increasing our focus and ability to redirect thoughts.
If you are new to meditation, it may be best to start with a short guided meditation. Our brains are not used to remaining present without judgment, so just like we can’t walk into the gym and lift the heaviest weight in our first workout, we most likely won’t be able to sit through an advanced meditation on our first try. If we pace ourselves, we are more likely to benefit from our practice.
To practice a guided meditation you can visit: Three Meditations for Beginners
When was the last time you checked in with how your body feels physically? A body scan allows us to recognize both pleasant and unpleasant sensations, by bringing your attention into your body, scanning your body from head to toe, noticing without judgment what is felt (i.e., heaviness, lightness, tension, warmth, etc.).
To practice you can visit:
Using Our Senses
Let’s use our five senses to practice grounding ourselves in the present moment.
FIVE: Look around you and notice 5 things you see. Maybe you notice the color of the ceiling tiles or a book sitting under a couch.
FOUR: Take a moment and notice 4 things you feel. Maybe you notice a watch on your wrist or a mug in your hand.
THREE: Pause and notice 3 things you hear. Maybe you notice a clock ticking or cars on a distant street.
TWO: Take a deep breath in and notice 2 things you smell. Maybe you notice a fresh brewed coffee or flowers.
ONE: Lastly, grab a snack or sip your drink and notice 1 thing you taste.
Want to incorporate Mindfulness into your daily routine?
There are a variety of apps that simplify the process of incorporating mindfulness into our daily lives.
How Can I Learn MORE?
If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness, look for a counselor in your area! There are a variety of therapeutic approaches that teach mindfulness, including:
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
To find a counselor in your area visit: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us
More information on our counselor’s that would love to help you learn more mindfulness techniques can be found at: InnercouragecounselingLLC.com
By Chelsea Bogda, LPC | December 31, 2019