Mindfulness refers to the practice of staying grounded in the present moment and applying a non-judgmental stance to your experience. Mindfulness is about acceptance of your state without a need to change or struggle with it.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of ongoing awareness of the present, accepting all that you experience with a non-judgmental perspective. Mindfulness encourages staying grounded in the present moment. Being mindful is about acceptance of your state without a need to change or struggle with it. Whatever comes to mind, such as negative thoughts, is viewed from a distance.
Does Mindfulness Work?
Mindfulness has been studied for many years and numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects of practicing mindfulness, including improved self-compassion, reduced stress, and psychological flexibility. One study examined the mechanisms that make mindfulness so effective. Researchers examined hundreds of surveys among college students and found that mindfulness promotes resilience, which increased life satisfaction.
Individuals who regularly practice mindfulness better cope with their distressing emotions without becoming overwhelmed. Instead of ruminating over worries, those who practice mindfulness are able to remain objective and grounded without getting carried away in their negative thoughts. Thus, through the resilience that mindfulness promotes, one can disengage from negative thinking associated with a range of disorders, including anxiety and depression.
Mindful Breathing Exercise
A simple way to practice mindfulness is by focusing on your breath.
- Find a quiet and comfortable place to practice and sit down.
- When you are settled, inhale deeply, focusing on the inflow of air, and then slowly exhale, gently letting the air out as you exhale. Notice your lungs as they expand during inhale and compress during exhale.
- With each exhale, imagine that you are breathing out your worries and concerns.
- If you become distracted by thoughts or sensations, just refocus your attention back to your breathing.
- Try practicing this mindful breathing exercise for about 5 minutes.
- When you are done, notice how you feel physically and emotionally. Were you able to disconnect from your thoughts, emotions, and sensations or did you get “hooked” by them? Either way is fine. You are becoming more aware of your internal experience.
- To gain the long-term benefits of mindfulness, try this mindful breathing exercise daily.
Mindfulness Through Body Awareness
With this practice, you will focus your awareness on different parts of your body. This is a great exercise to do if you are having trouble falling asleep or simply want to practice mindfulness.
- You can practice this exercise while laying down or sitting comfortably in a chair.
- Start from the top of your body and transition all the way down to your toes. As you scan each part of your body, kindly bring attention to that area, and notice any sensations with gentle curiosity. Try not to judge or ruminate on any one area. You are simply noticing and becoming more aware of your present state.
- Begin by noticing the forehead and get in touch with any sensations, including pulses, tingling, or tension. Attempt to just notice these sensations without becoming distracted by them. You may even say to yourself, “Ah, I am aware that there’s some tension on my forehead.” The idea is to foster a gentle acceptance of your experience.
- Now, focus your attention on your eyes, then the nose, lips, and then down to your neck, shoulders, forearms, elbows, wrists, and fingers, and then continue to your back, abdomen, buttocks, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, and finally the toes.
- In the end, you may want to spend a couple of moments thinking about how grateful you are for all the parts of your body.
- Hopefully, at the conclusion of this exercise, you will feel relaxed and tuned in with your present experience.
Mindfulness Training in Counseling
If you would like to learn mindfulness, Dr. Mazzei has years of experience teaching individuals how to use mindfulness to improve their mental health. If you would like to talk to Dr. Mazzei about how she can help you, follow these simple steps:
- Text today at (480) 448-6755 or e-mail us for a free consultation
- Or, you can book directly online with Dr. Mazzei
- Begin your journey towards a fulfilling and healthier life
Dr. Mazzei offers both in-person counseling in Chandler, AZ, and online mindfulness training if you live in Arizona, Illinois, or Tennessee. Her private practice is located at 3377 S. Price Rd. Suite 2104, Chandler, AZ.