August 4, 2020 – My mind is a Roller Coaster!
Mindfulness has become an extremely popular word in the world of recovery and mental health wellness. We hear it everywhere.
“Mindfulness Practice,” “Be Mindful,” “Live in the Moment” are clichés flooding our FB, IG and LinkedIn feeds every day.
But what is “mindfulness,” what are its benefits and how on earth do you practice it??
Mindfulness is the act of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment.
Often we go through our day busying ourselves with arduous tasks and responsibilities that overwhelm our thoughts and minds. We obsess over work issues, family issues, car issues, friendships. We try to make things better, to plan and to prepare for our tomorrow. Our minds are like high velocity roller coasters, going up and down, around and around, never stopping.
And although well-intentioned, our continuous thoughts about “tomorrow” can spiral out of control and eat away at our mental balance.
Practicing mindfulness can help put a stop to the roller coaster that is going on in our heads and help us get into a space of clarity and peace. It’s taking a moment to notice the falling leaves, smell the flowers or observe a beautiful sunset. It’s observing what is going on right now in our lives, surroundings, with our loved ones and most especially, with our internal compass. Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, helps us become fully engaged in activities and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events.
But how do we practice mindfulness? How do we get to a “mindful” state?
Here are four steps to mindfulness that can help get us into the“here and now” and away from our racing thoughts.
- Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor. There are pillows you can specially purchase to align your back, which allows air to flow freely through your sternum, lungs and nostrils. However, this special cushion is not needed – a pillow or carpet works just fine.
- Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensations of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale. Sometimes people put on quiet ocean or nature sounds in the background to drown out any outside noises. Focusing on breathing is essential in restoring calm and narrowing concentration.
- Once you’ve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and your ideas.
- Embrace and consider each thought or sensation without judging it good or bad. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.
Water Gap Wellness offers mindfulness practice groups as part of our comprehensive Wellness Program. If you or someone you know is experiencing Substance Use Disorder or has a Mental Health Diagnosis that can’t be controlled through holistic practices alone, please give us a call. Our admissions team is on standby 24/7 waiting to help. 1-833-949-4673 or email email@example.com
Written by Annette Kaiser