Is your mind full or are you being mindful? Mindfulness is such a buzz word right now and can be a turn off for a lot of people. I was listening to a podcast recently where the guest was talking about mindfulness, as he’s considered an expert in the field, and he doesn’t even want to use the word because it’s a bit overused. There is also a lot of misconceptions about mindfulness, the biggest being that it has to mean meditation. Meditation is certainly a way to practice mindfulness – it’s like going to the gym for a big workout – however, it’s not the only way.
Mindfulness means paying attention, on purpose, in a particular way, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally (Jon Kabat-Zinn). Basically it means you’re in the here-and-now, present with your experience as it is. Not getting swept away by thoughts and feelings, though you may still recognize those thoughts and feelings are present. Mindfulness has been shown through an immense amount of research to be helpful for anxiety, depression, urges, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, and helping to establish healthy habits, among much more. The biggest benefit, in my opinion, is that it can help us enjoy life, and all the things we do in it, much more.
Some ways you can practice mindfulness:
Meditation, if you’re so inclined – even 5 minutes each day has a lot of benefits
Connect with your senses – mindful eating, mindful walking, noticing what you can see and hear and touch and taste and smell
Yoga is a movement that is mindfulness-based
Dancing is another form of mindfulness-based movement (if you’re heard of the Whirling Dirvishes, it’s a great example)
When you’re fully engaged in any activity you enjoy – sports, music, art, etc. We often are very mindful while doing these things, and we can also choose to be mindful while doing them.
I personally practice some form of mindfulness daily. This often includes sitting meditation and yoga, sometimes a mindful walk, and certainly when I play music or go on a hike. In addition to being a RCC, I’m a RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) and offer mindfulness training, which is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want or need counselling at the moment. Group classes for introductory skills, as well as private classes where you can decide what skills you’d like to develop. Really, I want to help people from having minds that are full to just being mindful of
-Kelsey Harris, Registered Clinical Counsellor / Registered Yoga Teacher