Take a look at any health magazine, social media feed or online wellness blog and you’re more than likely to see a post on mindfulness. It’s a healthy habit buzzword that may seem like a fad, but in reality, it’s a beneficial practice that can reshape how we think about the world and how we handle our own mental health.
Dating back thousands of years, mindfulness has been intertwined with multiple religious and spiritual practices, but you don’t have to practice a religion to practice mindfulness. In 1994, Jon Kabat-Zinn intertwined the teachings of Buddhism and science to create the modern-day practice of mindfulness. Since then, the process of focusing on the present moment and acknowledging one’s feelings is a popular technique in cognitive and stress reduction therapy.
Acknowledge The Present… Whether You Like It Or Not
We live in a multi-tasking society where if you’re only doing one thing, you might as well be behind. However, our constant need to be ahead of our schedules can have detrimental effects on our mental health. Practicing mindfulness forces us to slow down and focus on the moment, whatever that might be. Instead of scrolling through your email or social media feed first thing in the morning, focus solely on sipping and savoring your coffee or tea. Take a moment to breathe, take in your surroundings and give your thoughts and feelings a check. You might find you go about your day with a clearer mind and a touch less stress.
Therapy For Thoughts And Sensations
It is certainly possible to bring a mindfulness practice into your daily life on your own, but the guidance of a therapist can help increase the success of your practice as well as relieve any uncertainty. Your therapist may first instruct you to turn your focus towards your current thoughts, whatever you may be feeling in the current moment. If you’re struggling with mental illness, this may help you find sources of your anxiety or depression, however, it may also allow you to bring attention towards positive things happening at the moment. Most importantly, your therapist will be there to remind you to remove any judgment towards your thoughts and feelings. Noticing and accepting rather than judging and fighting.
Make Decisions Mindfully
Once you are comfortable in your mindfulness practice, you can use these techniques discovered by yourself and taught by your therapist to make decisions for the better. The inherent notion of pausing, acknowledging your feelings and noticing how they might be affecting you can allow you to decode any unintended influences in your decision-making process. Practicing mindfulness also allows you to take stock of what matters most. With this heightened understanding of your own values and priorities, you may find it’s easier to weigh potential options and ultimately make the choice that’s best for you.
BetterHelp sponsored this post to help encourage awareness around mental health. For online counseling, BetterHelp is our go-to source. Multiple licensed counselors and therapists offer various treatment methods, including mindfulness therapy, to suit your mental health practice. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to get the help you need.