Mindfulness in 2022 is trending. For many good reasons. When we look back on what we’ve been through and are still fighting there isn’t anyone who can’t identify good and bad parts by this point in time.
What is mindfulness? Let’s keep it simple with Google. Mindfulness is defined as a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.
What’s so neat about mindfulness is that it quite literally is so easy anyone can do this and, in fact, is an awesome tool to use in parenting as well. With all our children face what an amazing tool for them! Mindfulness is largely about being present.
Here is what this looks like. We have a tangled web of thoughts daily, hourly even second by second. I know every single human can relate, that the majority of the time, these thoughts can be negative, replaying old tape, thoughts of being overwhelmed or worrying about the future. In the end, it steals us from our current state and even makes the situation we are living in the moment chaotic. How often do you have this mind full of thoughts and one of your kiddos or a co-worker approaches you and you give a quick snarky reply in an irritated tone? It has absolutely nothing to do with the person before you and everything to do with the tape you are running through your mind. In the meantime, if this doesn’t change, you start to put things at risk, like losing relationships or at least pieces of them that are important to operate in respect, love, and peace. This happens so often and so gradually to us as individuals that all of a sudden we can find ourselves in a constant state of irritation and you wonder, “how in the world did I get here again? My life is really nothing to complain about. I don’t want people to avoid me,” and the list can go on and on from there.
Step one is awareness.
I talk often about this in my blog posts and my website. Once you become aware of the situation or behavior, that’s when change begins. Sometimes this awareness slaps you in the face when someone you respect says, “Hey, enough is enough” and points out some of the things that need to change. Then ultimately the choice is yours. I hope you chose to address it. For some it doesn’t need to come to that hypothetical slap in the face. You begin to sense it on your own without someone needing to point it out. Mindfulness. Yep, you’re already doing it. Now to be intentional with it.
Being intentional is the next step.
If you find yourself overwhelmed, stop. Put a name on what you are feeling. Is it frustration, fear, chaos? Putting a name on what you’re feeling allows the brain to stop ruminating the situation and say, “Okay, that’s what this is.” Another step in mindfulness is taking a breath. Compose yourself for 3 seconds before moving forward with the comment or the action. There are some amazing books, YouTube videos, and trainers out there who can offer more bread and butter on this topic and I encourage you to seek them out.
In some respects, it’s kind of funny that we need reminders of this in our life and that mindfulness is an important technique used in many clinics and coaching offices. It seems so simple. Yes, it really is. But our world has swept us up in so many areas it’s no longer natural anymore. We know the facts about cell phones, social media, news, and social situations. It’s nothing new to any of us anymore, but we still find ourselves trapped. The only solution is to stop talking about feeling trapped and spinning in the emotion and take action. Sometimes the steps feel too overwhelming.
This is where trained professionals are here to help. There are counselors and coaches trained in Brainspotting, CBT, EMDR, NLP, and yes, even mindfulness to help get you started. Sometimes you need some help and education to clear some of the big roadblocks before some of these important tools like mindfulness become easier. There is NO ONE who is unable to do this. We all have the same gift of a neuroplastic brain which means that we have the ability to rewire our flow of thought. Really!! And the more we do it, the more the brain craves it and the easier it becomes. Pretty crazy and very cool!
I’d like to encourage you to take some steps in being mindful. It really doesn’t matter if you’re overwhelmed or not. Mindfulness serves everyone and it is accessible at any given moment in anyone’s day. We all need reminders, no matter how messy or put together we are, of how this technique can impact our day.
For this and more great information about the brain/body connection and how listening to your body’s signals is a literal lifesaver, visit my website groundedandgrowing.me. I’d love to hear how you use mindfulness to be more present.