D O E S I T R E A L L Y W O R K?
BY Amy Powell, LPC | June 13, 2019 | DBT: MINDFULNESS
It is certainly Summertime here is Savannah, GA and A beautiful one at that. The month of June is a special one because it is P R I D E M O N T H! If you are out of school, or work is still work- it’s always a good time to start practicing Mindfulness and learn to use it in different ways in hour life. If you haven’t been exposed to Mindfulness, or at least heard of it, I’d be surprised. Mindfulness has continuously gained more and more attention over the last couple of decades as its benefits to the brain have demonstrated positive through research.
Teachers are beginning to start their students’ day with some form of a Mindfulness practice. CEOs and executives know the benefits of practicing Mindfulness daily. Savvy business leaders are intentionally setting aside a place for Mindfulness practices in the schedules of their employees’. If you’ve heard about Mindfulness but are not sure if its for you, consider that research shows:
“That by practicing Mindfulness you increase your ability to make decisions in life, decrease emotional suffering from anxiety, depression and other painful emotion and compassion for self and others increases.”
Let’s try a simple exercise!
1. So, to get started, choose anything right in front of you or inside of you – like your breath. If you’re uncomfortable starting out with your breath, look for something to observe around you, a pen, a mug, art on the wall, a tree outside the window. Coffee mug. Apple. Cat. Art. It can be anything. Really!
2. Next, set a time for 30, 40, 60 or 90 seconds to start out.
3. Then, start observing all the details you can about what you’ve chosen to observe. Observe the colors, the writing or absence of writing, the subtleties. Pick it up or touch it. Notice the texture, weight.
Of course, many of the things I mentioned above would not be something you want to taste, but in general, try to observe through all 5 of your senses, as much as possible.
4. When your mind starts to wander – which it will – bring it back to observing what is in front of you. Do that over and over and over again!
Become the observer of your thoughts. Notice them passing by like billboards on a highway. Also, be gentle on yourself. Notice thoughts of “I can’t do this.” or “there’s something wrong with me” or other similar judgmental thoughts about yourself when you start your mindfulness practice. Those are normal. When your timer goes off, you’ve completed your first Mindfulness practice! Keep practicing daily and increase your time slowly…And trust that the benefits will begin to build.
“Mindfulness helps you keep your thoughts in the present moment instead of the future or the past – where our mind naturally wanders.”