What does Mindfulness really mean? You see people talking, posting and blogging about mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful texting and even mindful sex. But what does this mean? What is Mindfulness? How you do become more mindful? And do you really need to?
Mindfulness simply means focusing on one thing at a time – and only on that one thing. This is difficult to do with your phone beeping, text arriving, Facebook pinging at you and the TV blaring inflammatory news. We are all used to multitasking in a storm of activity and thoughts – and many of us have lost the ability to quiet our minds. Being mindful is the act of quieting the mind. I use the word “act” purposefully. Being mindful is an action and it takes practice.
Adding a little bit of Mindfulness to your day is like having a personal time machine – it slows down time. Is that possible? Well, kind of. When you focus on something small (like breathing) you might find that just one minute of intense focus can feel a lot longer.
A simple exercise is to take 10 breaths and while breathing in say to yourself “I am breathing in” and then “I am breathing out” while you are breathing out. I realize that this sounds very simple and it is, but as you breath in and out you might find that your mind wanders away from your simple sentence. It takes refocusing and action to stay on task.
This is because Mindfulness is a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, it atrophies, and then you are left feeling at the mercy of any passing thought like a small boat in a stormy ocean. Being mindful means that you are actively choosing what to think about and in many ways, you are therefore, choosing what to feel.
I have had many clients who want to learn about mindfulness but feel flooded or lost when they try meditation. I recently had a client find a wonderful tool that when used a few times week (or daily!) provided her with a gentle path to Mindfulness.
It is a planner by Panda Planner and it takes only 2 minutes in the morning and evening. It will, however, require you to actively think about what you want your affirmation to be; what you choose as your daily habits; as well as figuring out your focus for each day. I realize that these words might all sound like the same thing but they are different and are each important. This Daily Pro Panda Planner can be found on their website at www.pandaplanner.com or at the link below.
Using a planner is not for everyone just as meditation, yoga or therapy is not for everyone. But I do believe that finding a way to become a bit more mindful about your life is a good thing. I believe we all need a few breaths each day where we get to feel centered, good enough and calm.
If you are having difficulty find a place of calm in your life and would like to learn more about Mindfulness – I can be reached at www.AshleySeeger.com, www.CouplesCounselingBoulder.com or please call me at 720-551-8084. I look forward to our work together.
– Ashley Seeger, LCSW