Mindfulness is about focusing on the present. It is the basic human ability to be fully present, the ability to accept things for the way they are and aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly responsive or reactive by what’s going on around us.
Mindfulness can help you feel better and reduce stress. ‘Mindfulness is a of self-awareness training adapted from Buddhist mindfulness meditation. It has been adapted for use in treatment of depression, especially preventing relapse and for assisting with mood regulation.’ 1There are many techniques such as relaxation that can help in the practice of mindfulness thus helping to reduce stress.
De-stressing Exercises (adapted from The Black Dog Institution)
- Bring yourself into the present by intentionally adopting an upright and dignified posture.
- You can ask yourself: “What is going on with me now?”
- It is important to allow yourself to observe whatever happens or is happening. You can label any thoughts that you have and then leave them alone…just be prepared to let them float away. Attend to your breathing or simply take in your surroundings instead.
- Besides thoughts, there may be sounds you hear, bodily sensations that you are aware of. If you find yourself constantly elaborating on thoughts, rather than labelling them and returning to the neutral, remember to observe your breathing.
- When emotions or memories of painful events occur, don’t allow yourself to become caught up by them.
- Give them short labels such as “that’s a sad feeling”, “that’s an angry feeling” and then just allow them to drift or float away. These memories and feelings will gradually decrease in intensity and frequency.
- More importantly, you will begin to identify yourself as an objective observer or witness rather than a person who is disturbed by these thoughts and feelings. This requires practise but can then be used whenever you are stressed.
Mindfulness in Everyday Life
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