Wellness and Mindfulness
"Mindfulness is an integrative, mind-body approach to life that helps people relate effectively to their experience. It involves paying attention to our own subjective thoughts, feelings and body sensations, in a way that can increase awareness, help us manage difficult experience and increase space to make wise choices." Ela Amarie, themindfulbrain.net
In an effort to achieve overall wellness, mindfulness builds resiliency to stress and allows people to view our ever changing and complex world as separate from the potential of our inner being and purpose. What I enjoy about incorporating mindfulness into the therapy experience is that I witness people truly getting to know themselves, appreciating their gifts, and learning to look at the big picture to preserve their energy for those most important parts of life.
When we notice our thoughts drifting, we are becoming more mindful. When we realize we cannot predict the future, we are being mindful. When we appreciate the gifts of the present moment, we are being mindful. Unfortunately, we are all guilty of getting wrapped up in anxiety about the future, or feeling guilty about the past, or we get glued to our technology... Mindfulness is making a commitment to not miss an opportunity to experience life, to really connect with life, to simplify our busy lives. It can be empowering to find intention and purpose in the present moment, and be comfortable embracing it.
Here's an example of mindfulness in my life:
I had a very stressful day at a job, and left later than I wanted to, knowing that my husband and kids were waiting for me at the dinner table.
I drove home too fast, replaying moments of the day, and anticipating the guilt of walking in late for dinner, feeling doomed for a stressful evening after what felt like a horrible day. As I was sitting at a stop light, feeling very annoyed that the universe is trying to remind me I am having a bad day, I felt my heart pounding. Then I noticed that the sun had just peeked from behind the clouds in a way that caught my attention, it was a beautiful sight that distracted me from watching the stop light. My breathing and heart slowed down for just a moment, until the car behind me beeped as the light turned green. I realized that I was carrying feelings with me in this moment that were not really about this moment, but were instead moments in the past and future that I couldn't change by having these big feelings. I looked over at my overflowing work bag, and it became a metaphor for my overwhelming day, which I realized I don't have to "carry" home with me. If I do, I am choosing to make the rest of the evening a continuation of this feeling. If I don't, I can better enjoy the moments to come, with my family, without missing opportunities to feel their love. I pulled into the driveway, and although I was "late", I took a few deep breaths and zipped up my work bag and got of my car, leaving the bag inside. I looked back at it as I entered the house, as if to say "it is my intention to leave you behind, you won't ruin this moment". I entered the house smelling the dinner my husband made, and hearing the laughter of my children as they raced to hug me at the door. I smiled, hugged them, and joined them for dinner, without the guilt that I felt all the way home. When my husband asked me about my day, I said "there was a beautiful moment when the sun peeked through the clouds."