Mindfulness is not a new practice, but it has gained popularity in the last several years. The deliberate practice of mindfulness has become increasingly important as our lives shift away from being present in the moment to one where we are constantly, and consistently, bombarded with information and stimuli every moment of every day. One need not look further than their cell phone and the notifications that stream across them and our unparalleled attention that we afford such devices. Think back to childhood and how many times your play, studying, or conversations would be interrupted in the moment? Not very often was it? Now how often are your conversations interrupted by something on your phone today.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and taking in everything that is going on in the ‘here and now’ and derail the runaway train of our brains (aka anxious or depressive thoughts that take us out of the present and into the future and past respectively) to float in and then float out of our attention at that time. It is not ignoring, but rather acknowledging that they are there and choosing where we desire to give our attention. No wonder we are seeing higher rates of anxiety as our youth are pulled in several different directions at once with all that is going on to overload their senses!
According to the Heartmath website (a program focused on mindfulness and how it affects our health for decades) ‘When we experience uplifting emotions such as appreciation, joy, care, and love; our heart rhythm pattern becomes highly ordered, looking like a smooth, harmonious wave [and we become] synchronized and the body’s systems operate with increased efficiency and harmony. It’s no wonder that positive emotions feel so good – they actually help our body’s systems synchronize and work better.’
The photo is a happy place for me that I found this morning. I grew up near the water and there was a lighthouse that we used to climb and jump off as children. I took 10 minutes to not look at my phone, be present, and be mindful of all that was around me, the sound of the water, the feeling of the cool air, the scent of the water, the brightness of the sun, the sound of those fishing nearby, etc and felt a wave of calm wash over me.
Mindfulness is a practice and one that you can learn. Many therapists are using this as an important part of grounding work and a key ingredient of their therapy. If you think it would be helpful for you, I would be happy to work with you and teach you techniques that I have seen proven to work with many individuals, myself included. Email me and lets work together
What is your happy place? Or how do you practice mindfulness?