Have you ever driven back and forth to work with no recollection of the drive itself? One minute you were at the office and the next minute you’re home. Or maybe sometimes you go upstairs to grab something and by the time you get there you’re looking around thinking, “..what did I come here for again?”.
If these situations sound familiar then ask yourself this: Am I mindful or is my mind full? If you’ve answered yes to the latter then you might like to try out a mindfulness strategy or two! While looking after your mental health may involve seeking help from a psychologist or counselor, there are things you can do to help manage your stress at home. Mindfulness is a word you may or may not have heard before. The short and sweet definition is that it refers to being present in the moment without judgment. It means taking the time to reflect on being in the moment while it’s taking place.
Some may say, “I’m way too busy for that! I have to balance work, kids, school, life, etc… I have no time for this!” I hear you! People lead super busy lives, and it’s not easy to add to an already hectic schedule. Practicing mindfulness doesn’t take as much time as you think. If you can set aside even a few minutes daily, it could potentially make a difference in your mindset. If practicing mindfulness with a professional works best for you if done from the comfort of your home, you can always get involved in virtual counseling sessions.
Here is a quick exercise you can try right now – while you’re reading this:
- Pause what you’re doing
- Find a comfortable place preferably with little distraction
- Close your eyes
- Breathe in for 5 counts, breathe out for 7 counts (repeat 4-5 times) – while doing this feel free to note (without trying to change it) any sensations in your body
- Slowly open your eyes and resume your task
How do you feel? Can you maybe insert this little exercise into your day? Maybe at your desk, in your parked car, sitting outside?
Mindfulness can be practiced in tidbits throughout the day whenever we have a moment to check in with ourselves and our bodies.
Although there is no guarantee of how an individual may feel after doing a mindfulness exercise, many of my clients who have practiced mindfulness have reported that it resulted in them feeling more self-aware of the present moment and a closer connection between their body and mind. Simple breathing exercises and many other techniques have proven to be quite beneficial for my clients. This is especially evident for those of which struggle with difficult emotions. It can potentially help to regulate emotional distress by slowing things down and bringing the focus back to the breath. Some individuals find that through practicing mindfulness, their resilience in response to dealing with overwhelming emotions is increased.
One last note; mindfulness shouldn’t be viewed as a ‘blanket’ therapy, as it is not necessarily a beneficial practice for everyone. Those with a history of trauma should be cautious when practicing mindfulness. For such individuals, we recommend seeking professional guidance as this practice can be re-traumatizing and could potentially bring up triggers. Mindfulness exercises can be trauma-informed but it is best to discuss this with a psychotherapist in order to assess whether mindfulness is a viable choice or not. You can always consult a health care provider if you need help. You can book your appointment by clicking here or by calling us at 289-806-5054.