Mindfulness in its simplest form is "being present." Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, feelings and surroundings. Over my years of practice, in working with individuals and in groups, I have learned the importance and need for a mindfulness-based therapy. It is difficult to do therapy, or to learn about one self, without being fully in-tuned with our thoughts.
Some examples of mindfulness techniques are but not limited to are:
- deep breathing
- progressive muscle relaxation
- guided imagery
Why is this important in therapy? Well, as human beings we generally have thoughts running through our brain. Almost like a hamster on a wheel. Mindfulness allows us to observe the hamster on the wheel instead of being the hamster. We get to take in all the details, feelings, emotions and thoughts from an outsider view. This might seem like a foreign concept to some because why would we want to think about our thoughts. Well, by allowing yourself to reflect on your thoughts and emotions, allows you to take control. Some people feel that their thoughts are racing or an emotional roller coaster, by practicing mindfulness, you can begin to control and understand your thoughts and emotions.
We will practice mindfulness techniques in therapy that you will be able to continue using even after our sessions come to an end. Mindfulness should not be a phase, it should be a life long activity that you incorporate into your daily life.
If you are intrigued, I suggest for individuals to try the "Raisin Meditation." It might appear to be very easy, but time yourself and see the effects of mindfulness. The raisin can be replaced by anything of the same shape such as an M&M, peanut, grape etc.
If you enjoyed the raisin meditation or want to try different methods, there are several meditation techniques that you can find online and apps you can download onto your phone such as Calm, Headspace, or Simple Habit-Meditation. Just remember you do not need to be going to therapy to practice mindfulness.