Mindfulness is the human ability to be fully present, aware of what is going on right now, aware of what we are doing while not being overreactive to what is going on around us. In short, it is the ability to think about what we are doing right now. Taking attention with interest and kindness to our surroundings. We will take a look at that today and talk about how mindfulness can help us stay connected to our relationships and current life. Do you find yourself desiring the ability to enjoy the day, or this season? Mindfulness could help. Let’s take a look.
Do I Need Mindfulness?
I think it would be easy to not recognize our own need for mindfulness. We become used to our thoughts, and they are what they have always been, so maybe we don’t put time in considering a need for improvement. I hope to challenge that today, for the good. Mindfulness has not only helped some to decrease anxiety and depression but also improve their overall mental well-being and relationships. If you are still unsure if this concept could help you, hang on. Below are some indications that you could benefit from mindfulness.
- You spend a lot of time planning for the future
- You spend a lot of time pondering the past
- You have a hard time relaxing and just being
- You focus on things you cannot change
- You have a hard time enjoying pleasant experiences
- You overly judge, analyze, criticize or evaluate things
- You lack compassion
- You lack intention
Is it hard to read through this list? Can you relate to multiple items? Recognizing there may need to be a change is the first brave step. We will discuss why below. Choosing mindfulness can change your spirits as well as your mental health. Let’s take a look at how not being mindful can affect our lives.
What Does This Affect?
Allowing your mind and thoughts to wander to wherever they go can be unhealthy, especially if you have a tendency to gravitate toward negative thoughts or worse case scenarios. Keeping in mind that mindfulness is thinking about what you are doing right now, it is easy to see how the below can be common in those who react first over choosing mindfulness. Can you think of other ways that being mindless affects your life? Below are only a few impacts of how the lack of mindfulness can present itself in our lives.
- Issues with prioritizing tasks
- Burnout & exhaustion occurs more often
- Strained relationships
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Experience lack of focus
- High stress which can possibly lead to other illnesses
These are just some of the impacts of living a life without mindfulness. Are you experiencing any of the concerns shared above, hang on! There is help. We don’t have to remain in our thought patterns. Change is possible. Choosing change is the first step to succeeding in anything. Choosing to practice mindfulness can take time, but below are some suggestions that could help.
How Can I Practice Mindfulness?
Maybe you have made it this far and you recognize the need for some change, but have no idea where to start? You are in the right place. First, I want to address something. If you have lived life without mindfulness and feel your relationships have been impacted, you are not alone. There is hope and there is help. Below are some steps that you can take to practice mindfulness. If, however, you feel like this is a deeper issue within you and you need professional advice, we offer relationship counseling as well as counseling for anxiety, depression and other life transitions. Below are some suggestions you could choose to start practicing mindfulness.
Meditation Could Help.
If mindfulness is brand new to you, trying meditation first could help. These steps can help prepare you for mindfulness. Some suggestions are below.
- Find a comfortable & quite place to sit
- Take note of your posture – don’t slump
- Have your arms comfortable
- Soften your gaze by lowering the position of your head
- Practice deep breathing – feel the movement
- When your mind wanders, just bring it back to your body’s movements
- Give yourself grace if your mind wanders often
- When you have spent a time in this space, lift your gaze.
- Take note of how you feel. Listen for noises. Notice your thoughts.
- Journal your experience
Taking time to experience meditation and mindfulness could help reduce the frequency of negative thoughts or time spent on thoughts not of today. Below are some suggested steps that could help with mindfulness. Being committed and ready for change is the most important first step. Are you ready to take a step for change? Below are a few suggestions to learn and practice as you go about your day.
- Experience what is happening without judging or analyzing
- Acknowledge how you are feeling
- Listen to what is being said without forming what you will say
- Practice deep breathing while listening
- Remain in the current circumstance, do not think of future or past
- Pause before responding
- Inhale and exhale deeply
- Work or focus on one task at a time without considering future tasks
- Use breaks to practice these mind clearing exercises, instead of scrolling or reading news
- Your response is to a person, not a fear. Recognize which one you are responding to.
Sometimes the decision to practice mindfulness can make us aware of just how often we put our thoughts, preferences or fears above the person who is talking to us or the task at hand. This can be hard to see within ourselves. Give yourself grace, be kind. Growth takes recognition, then change. We all have room to recognize the need for change.
If you have found yourself lacking mindfulness and desire professional help, Upstate Restorative Counseling can help, you are not alone.