What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is term that is becoming more and more popular in our culture today. So, what exactly is mindfulness? Mindfulness can be defined as the practice of purposely bringing one’s attention in the present moment without judgment, a skill one develops through meditation or other training. Often, we are not in the present moment. We are usually in our past which may cause us to experience shame, regret, defeat or depression. We are also usually in our future which may cause us to experience anxiety, panic attacks, fear and uncertainty.
Mindfulness can pull us out of our past and future brining us to the present moment. Mindfulness can alleviate unpleasant thoughts and emotions, help focus, improve sleep hygiene and emotional regulation. Mindfulness skills include grounding techniques that ground us to the present moment. One common grounding skill is the 5,4,3,2,1 technique. Using your 5 senses:
- Identify 5 things you can see
- Identify 4 things you can touch
- Identify 3 things you can hear
- Identify 2 things you can smell
- Identify 1 thing you can taste
Another common Mindfulness skill is focused breathing exercises. Use the “5” technique:
Find a comfortable and quite place
- Take a deep breath through your nose for 5 seconds
- Hold for 5 seconds
- Exhale through puckered lips for 5 seconds
- Repeat 5 times
Although it can feel frightening and overwhelming to take that first step and reach out to a therapist, learning to manage your emotions and behavior is an investment in yourself that can improve your quality of life in dramatic ways. If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.