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Mindfulness is the practice of fully engaging in and being aware of the present moment, being nonjudgmental, and not clinging to moments including thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness helps lower anxiety, stress, and depression by enhancing an individual’s mind and body connection which improves understanding of emotions and thoughts. Wanting to try mindfulness? Keep reading to get tips on getting started.
1. Re-focus when you’re feeling distracted
Mindfulness can help you reset your focus to work on the task at hand and pay attention to one thing at a time. When you’re focusing on one thing at a time you will be less likely to be lost in thought of focusing on your worries. In our fast paced world, we are so used to multitasking. Try focusing on only one thing at a time. Yes, you heard me! That means putting away your phone when you are having a conversation, watching a TV program, or sending an email!
2. Stay in the present moment
Practicing mindfulness helps you keep your thoughts in the current moment. Try observing your surroundings, describing what’s in your environment, and/or fully participating in an activity of your choice.
3. Let it in and let it go!
Acknowledge the feelings and thoughts you are experiencing that are taking away from the present moment, but don’t cling to them. Allow them to come and go freely. You can imagine that the feelings and thoughts are being washed away by the ocean, floating away down a river, moving by with a cloud, or another image of your choosing. This allows you to have thoughts and feelings without getting stuck or distracted.
4. Practice Non-judgment
When you judge yourself or others you unintentionally create ineffective thoughts and feelings such as feelings of shame or guilt. Instead of labeling experiences as “good” or “bad”, try saying exactly what you mean. What is good to one person may be bad to another. Replace “I did so badly on the test” with “I don’t like my grade on the test” or “I’m awful at relationships” with “I don’t like my behaviors in relationships.” Saying what you mean helps you express yourself, understand yourself, and ultimately identify what you want to change.
If you are having difficulty managing your emotions try incorporating mindfulness into your daily life. You can do this 10 minutes a day by practicing centering prayer, guided imagery, or simply observing your breathing. Mindfulness helps teach us to pause and check in with ourselves in a non-judgmental and accepting way.
Dialectical behavior therapy is a unique treatment that incorporates mindfulness. If you or your loved one are struggling with relationships, regulating emotions, or have difficulty managing distress make an appointment with one of the Summit’s Intensively Trained DBT clinicians – we’re here to help. Make an appointment by calling 678-893-5300 or visiting www.summitcounseling.org!