This mindfulness practice is a grounding technique that is helpful for anxiety because it allows us to be present. Being present with all that is around us, not just overwhelming feelings, thoughts, sensations, urges, or memories can allow us to continue on with our day, regardless of how long these hang around for.
This is yin yoga at it’s finest. Contacting the present moment, maybe lucking out with some relaxation but the purpose is to be present. Here’s the link to the 30 Day Yoga Challenge by Timothy Gordon (The Zen Social Worker). I highly recommend checking it out. Check out this podcast episode on mindfulness too. Let me know how this goes in the comments and keep on making the most of it!
Though mantra meditations are often associated with religious meditation, I come to mindfulness from a secular perspective. My mantra, for example, is “I am, I can, I will.” Mantras have been associated with meditative practices in every major religion, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. This 5-minutes meditation is meant to help you focus, become present, and remember what you believe in. I have talked about mindfulness in a few podcast episodes. The ones I would recommend you checking out are: Episode 6 Mental Health and Chronic Illness, Episode 22 How Anxiety and Stress Manifest in the Body, and Episode 31 Mindfulness and Health.
I hope you enjoy this meditation, and remember to keep making the most of it!
This week we’re going to do a loving kindness mediation. I’ve done one of these on the podcast as well, in our self-compassion episode, which you can access here. It can greatly improve our mental health to show ourselves some self-love and self-kindness. This meditation is a way to do that. Many therapy modalities use loving kindness in their mindfulness practices. Though mindfulness isn’t for everyone, I discuss the benefits of it in another podcast episode, which you can find here.
Use this meditation as often as you need so that you can keep making the most of it!
This guided mindfulness practice can help you be calm, relaxed, focused, and ready for your day. It allows you tao take a moment to stop and be present. Mindfulness has so many benefits to both mental and physical health. To hear more about the benefits of mindfulness, please check out this podcast episode with Dr. Alex Triendl!
If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I’m quite into mindfulness practices. I’ve found them to be quite helpful. Whether you’re dealing with a chronic physical illness, mental illness, or just daily life stresses, mindfulness can be amazingly helpful to get yourself centred and present. Just doing 10-15 minutes of meditation a day, or going for a mindful walk (especially if that gets you out in nature) can reduce anxiety and increase focus and attention. There has been tons of research done on the subject if you don’t want to take my word for it.
I was introduced to mindfulness first by my naturopath, who suggested downloading an app (such as Headspace or Calm) and trying to do some meditations through there. My psychotherapist was not far behind to recommend it as well. I started slow and progressed as I became more comfortable doing the practices. 5 minutes turned into 10 which turned into 15. This is basically how I suggest starting if you haven’t done so yet.
So what are these lessons from mindfulness. I have three for you today.
Distinguishing “future problems” from “today problems” – I used to worry a lot more and have a lot more anxiety about the future than I do now. One of the best lessons mindfulness taught me was how to stay present enough to focus on today, rather than worry about tomorrow. As I just moved across the country, this has been very helpful. Many people have asked if I will stay out here after practicum. “I don’t know” is my answer. Why? Because that’s a future problem. A today problem is setting up my apartment or another is getting prepared for practicum (which starts tomorrow!). I no longer worry about future problems until that future is right around the corner. There’s enough on my mind as it is. Mindfulness can help you develop this skill.
Appreciating the moment – this totally ties into being present as the above lesson does. In the past few days when I have been stressed because there is so much to get done, I’ve gone outside for a moment and appreciated that I am literally in the middle of the gorgeous Rocky Mountains. The Okanagan valley is surrounded by stunning nature and I’ve found that to be instantly calming. Even if you don’t live somewhere quite as visually pleasing, mindfulness can help you appreciate the things that you do enjoy. When I lived in Toronto (which is literally the opposite of where I am now), I was able to appreciate the liveliness of downtown (pre-pandemic) and the closeness of Lake Ontario. When I lived in LA, I could appreciate the constant sunlight and beautiful whether. The point is, there is always something to appreciate, whether in nature or in your life, and staying present can help you do that.
The final lesson is non-judgment – I used to be way more judgmental, of myself, of others. Of course, it’s completely human nature to judge and I don’t think it’s possible to be nonjudgmental 100% of the time. However, mindfulness can help with non-judgment more often than not, and it can help you catch yourself when you are being judgmental. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, no one is perfect. Hell, my mindfulness aren’t perfect, and they aren’t supposed to be. By letting that judgment go, you can feel more at peace (at least I do), and that is a really good lesson.
I hope you have some takeaways from today, especially if you haven’t tried mindfulness. I’m not saying that it’s a cure for anything or that it works for everyone. And it definitely requires patience (you might need to practice consistently for a month or more to see any results). What it can do is help you lead a better life and make the most of it (if you give it and yourself the chance).