Wrapping Our Minds Around Mindfulness

When first being introduced to Mindfulness or Meditation it is common to think or feel weird.  For many, it feels awkward the first time you are asked to sit in silence and pay attention to things like your breath, sounds in the air, the physical feelings of your body, or emotions in your heart.  The act of being aware and not judging our thoughts is truly difficult, especially when we belong to a society full of judgement both positive and negative.  

Know, you are not alone if you feel a little funny sitting in a quiet space, infused with the smells of essential oils, and nature sounds and gongs playing in the background.  As uncomfortable as you may feel the first, second, or however many times, it might be good to know that this mindfulness stuff actually works.  

Benefits of Mindfulness

According to the American Psychological Association, there are many benefits to mindfulness.  Their list includes: reduced rumination (thinking about something that you just can’t get over), stress reduction, focus, memory, less emotional reactivity (less negative emotional reaction to something disturbing), cognitive flexibility (help you to think in more than just black and white), relationship satisfaction, and some physical health benefits as well.  

Mindfulness can be a true tool to use when trying to combat anxiety, depression, addiction, and other mental health issues.  The act of being present, in the “here and now,” helps to reduce the distracting worries of past and future so that one can focus on dealing with the present.  

Feeling Comfortable with Mindfulness

First, just try it out.  Be open and brave to giving it a shot.  If engaging in mindfulness in a therapy session be open with your therapist about what feels uncomfortable.  There are many different mindfulness activities that you can explore.  Perhaps you just need to find the right activity that fits you.  Gongs and sounds of the Amazon Rain not your cup of tea, no problem, try mindfully eating a chocolate truffle.  I promise, that chocolate truffle is probably going to be the best chocolate truffle you ever tasted. You can even be mindful when washing dishes or taking a shower.  

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.  As simple as it may seem, mindfulness takes practice.  You can practice alone, with your therapist, or even download an app on your phone.  Today there are various apps that one can download with recordings that can help guide you through a peaceful mindfulness activity.  You can even choose different background sounds from gentle waves crashing on the shore, to soothing melodic music, or the warm crackle of a fire.

Best of Luck in your journey to finding some inner peace and relaxation.