If you have wondered, “What is mindfulness?” You might get this picture of someone sitting in a lotus, legs crossed and eyes closed, meditating for hours. But what if it is something you can do right now and would only take one second? Yes, it can be done in one second, and yes, every second counts.
Mindfulness is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. But what does it mean? In simple terms, mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings in the present moment. It involves paying attention to your body, mind, and emotions without judgment. Mindfulness can help your overall mental health by allowing you to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, which can help you better cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
New Directions Mental Health provides resources and guidance for learning and practicing mindfulness. We understand that everyone’s journey with mental health is unique, so we offer individuals in Pennsylvania mental health counseling to support their individual needs. Our trained counselors can help you develop a greater sense of self-awareness and self-compassion through mindfulness exercises. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at 724.374.7414 to learn more about our services and how we can support your mental health.
What Is Mindfulness?
When asking yourself, “What is mindfulness?” remember that it is not about achieving a certain state of mind but rather a way of being. It is about learning to be fully present and engaged in the present moment, no matter what you are doing. Practicing mindfulness allows you to let go of distractions and judgments and focus on the here and now. This can bring a sense of calm and clarity to your mind, allowing you to manage stress better and improve your overall well-being.
In just one second, you can take a deep breath, notice the sensations in your body, or simply pause and be fully present in the moment. These small moments of mindfulness can add up and significantly impact your mental health. Whether you are new to mindfulness or have been practicing for years, we invite you to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine and experience its positive effects on your well-being.
Understanding Moments of Mindfulness
Almost everyone has experienced moments of mindfulness. Looking up and observing the pinks and blues of the night sky as the sun begins to set. Breathing in the fresh air and noticing, for the moment, exactly what it’s like to be right here, right now. At the zoo, you may gaze at a yawning tiger with its sharp teeth, whiskers, and wrinkled nose. In moments like these, there can be a natural pull into mindfulness. You often recognize moments later as it seems time slipped by. So, when there aren’t moments like these, in the seemingly mundane, we can choose to intentionally bring our awareness to the present moment to be mindful.
Examples of Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness exercises can be categorized as easy, moderate, or challenging. They can also be categorized as in-the-moment or formal practice. Here are examples of easy, moderate, and challenging mindfulness exercises:
Practice Mindfulness with Our Pets
It’s a suitable place to start because animals are always mindful and fully present at any given time. Simply being with them can lead you into mindfulness easily and naturally if you take the time. Being fully intentional with our attention on a pet as they plop onto the floor, roll around on their back, or slurp water can bring you into mindfulness. Likewise, practicing mindfulness by observing nature’s animals can lay the foundation for your mindfulness practice.
A Rewarding Exercise Is with Our Children
Being completely intentional and focused as they talk, play, or engage with you will help you practice mindfulness. It will contribute to the well-being and confidence of the child as they feel seen, cared for, and empowered. If thoughts or emotions arise, observe and note them before allowing them to pass and then intentionally bring your focus back to the present moment.
Challenge Yourself to Experience Your Thoughts and Emotions
Thoughts and emotions can be so consuming that disengaging is often difficult. It may seem impossible initially, but it can be done, and with practice, it gets easier. The “passengers on the bus” technique can be helpful in this scenario. Imagine you are a bus driver, and your thoughts and emotions are all passengers on the bus. You know where you are headed, but anger screams at you to turn around. Anxiety says you can’t do this or you’ll never get where you’re going. You can choose to let these thoughts and emotions drive the bus, or you can bring yourself into the present moment and treat these just like passengers on a bus. You are in control of driving the bus—the thoughts and emotions are just passengers along for the ride.
You can practice mindfulness in any situation for any length of time. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Starting with accessible practices, such as with animals or in nature, can help you build a foundation of mindfulness. Being mindful of people can help you to empower and validate others while strengthening your skills. When you observe your thoughts or emotions and can bring yourself back into the present moment, you have really begun to build some mindfulness muscles. So, forge your foundation, strengthen your skills, and build your mindfulness muscles!
What to Remember with Your Practice of Mindfulness
As you venture deeper into the practice of mindfulness, it’s essential to remember a few key points to ensure your journey is fruitful and rewarding. Those critical points are:
- Patience is key – Mindfulness isn’t something that you become an expert at overnight. It’s a skill that develops over time with patience and perseverance.
- Non-judgmental observation – Observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment when practicing mindfulness. It’s not about labeling them as good or bad but rather about understanding them for what they are.
- Consistency – Make mindfulness a consistent part of your daily routine. Even a few minutes a day can make a significant difference.
- Self-compassion – Lastly, remember to be gentle with yourself during this journey. Each day will be different, and that’s completely okay. The goal is not perfection but progress.
Remember, even just one second of mindfulness can make a difference.
Contact New Directions Mental Health to Begin Healing
Begin your journey towards mindful living today. Reach out to New Directions Mental Health and let our experienced mental health professionals guide you along the path of self-discovery, understanding, and healing. We offer various resources and personalized counseling services tailored to suit your unique needs. Remember, every moment of mindfulness adds up to a more balanced, peaceful life.
Contact us today at 724.374.7414 to learn more about our services and how we can support your mental health journey. You deserve the clarity and calm mindfulness can bring—let New Directions Mental Health help you find it.