According to the Oxford dictionary, mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”. Mindfulness can help with things like panic disorder, depression, quality of sleep and even lowering blood pressure to help with heart disease. This is a great tool to use even when you feel the beginning of stress to prevent these sorts of things.
The idea of mindfulness is to bring your attention to the here and now as opposed to your worries and stresses. It’s not about distraction, it’s about taking a step back and processing what’s really going on. If you have time to focus on yourself, even if it’s for a moment it helps reset the mind and get it back on track.
What do you need to practice mindfulness? Your senses. There are different methods for mindfulness including focusing on your breath or senses and meditation among others. A technique used for breath focus could be simply sitting in a chair with your feet on the floor and focusing on your natural breathing, not doing anything to change or force it but to just check in on what’s going on already. Using your senses could bring you more centered as well if you go down your five senses and pick something you can observe with each you can bring your focus to the here and now. If you’re at home this is a good time to light your favorite candle and sip on a good cup of tea. It’s a time to focus on and really enjoy what is going on around you.
Mindfulness meditation can take on many forms but one can be to focus on the sensations going on in the body. Usually starting from the top of the head, working to the tips of the toes you can focus on any sensation going on in that part of the body. Do you notice you hold your tension in your shoulders? This is a great time to notice that. Setting a timer to go off periodically throughout the day to take a deep breath and release that tension could be the start of a great habit.
There are plenty of free apps that can help with a guided meditation for mindfulness like Insight Timer and other apps for things like coloring. If you’d like more information on mindfulness and how to practice it and are in the Chicagoland area feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, IL 60477.
Benefits of Mindfulness. (2019, August 19). Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/benefits-of-mindfulness.htm
-Dani at Olive Branch