Hey! I will add handouts, links to articles, and other media content to this forum as I come across information related to mindfulness and self-care.
According to Mindful.org, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
The point of our first discussion in mindfulness is to find some relief from the pressure of “doing it right.” There is no perfectly correct way to practice mindfulness. Even though I compare it to a piano to demonstrate how building the skill takes practice, that analogy is limited. When we sit to play piano, that is what we end up doing despite what piece we choose to play. When we practice mindfulness sometimes we sit in front a piano and have to move to the set of drums.
In the Ted Talk below, Shauna Shapiro does an excellent job explaining how difficult it can be to begin the practice of mindfulness. She began the practice while in crisis, so she validates how dedication and gentle firmness are necessary at the beginning.
In the beginning just practice the basic steps, like managing your thoughts or being nonjudgmental. Use belly breathing or one or any combination of your five senses while practice the technical skills. Remember:
- Your goal is to improve the technical skills–you set yourself up to fail if your goal is to empty your mind or relax (though, relaxation is often a pleasant side effect).
- Fit your practice into your daily routine.
- Be kind to you as you work on this new skill.
Use mindfulness to develop an intimate relationship with the self–to increase your awareness of your thoughts, emotions, action urges, and body responses. Increased self-awareness enhances your ability to move through your day purposefully and less reactive to stress. For a full list of benefits, read the article on the APA website, “What are the Benefits of Mindfulness?”
Disclaimer: This content is intended for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for mental health or medical treatment. It is important for those with clinical and medical diagnoses to receive the appropriate treatment from trusted and trained practitioners.