What is Mindfulness?

What is mindfulness and how do you practice it?

Mindfulness is a term used to describe a way of responding to stress that allows you to get out of old mental patterns which worsen stress and decrease problem solving.

Mindfulness is a tool that is beneficial for people struggling with mental health and substance use disorders, but it is just as useful for everyday stressors. Practicing mindfulness means increasing your awareness of the present moment without judgment.

Here is a quick exercise: sit in a safe, quite space and close your eyes. Notice the sounds you hear – maybe your breath, the heat blowing, or sounds from the street. Notice what you can smell and feel – maybe the chair beneath you or the smell of the air freshener. Notice where you are holding tension in your body, and check-in with yourself emotionally – what mood are you in? If thoughts come to you, simply notice them as if you are waving to a friend then let them pass by. Try not to make judgments about your thoughts or feelings being “bad” or “good.” Instead just notice them.

There are a few of reasons why mindfulness is helpful for stress. The first is that it is a way to take up space leaving less mental room for ruminating or worry. Second, becoming more aware of your own physical and emotional statuses can help you to better identify your needs for early stress relief intervention, which reduces the risk of mounting stress and emotional burnout. Third, mindfulness is a practice which allows you to separate thoughts from emotions to help slow down your emotional reactions, so that you can respond to life with thoughtfulness and purpose.

Segal, Z., Williams, M., Teasdale, J. (2013). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression (2 nd ed). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

BluJean Casey, MA, LAC, NCC

BluJean is a Primary Counselor at North Warren Counseling Center who provides treatment for those with mental health and substance use disorders. BluJean’s background focuses in trauma-informed care utilizing Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Techniques.

North Warren Counseling Center, Alina Lodge & Haley House are operated by Little Hill Foundation.

Alina Lodge treats all types of chemical dependency such as alcoholism and drug addictions including cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, as well as prescription drug addiction. If you or a loved one struggles to stay sober, contact us today.

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