What Is Mindfulness, and How Can It Help Me?

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 As you look through treatments and strategies to help with a variety of presentations, such as anxiety, mood, adjustment, or trauma, one word keeps coming up that may not make as much sense as some of the other, more conventional recommendations.  While typically therapy, medication, exercise, and self-care are touted heavily, mindfulness has increasingly been added to the list – even if it hasn’t been properly defined!  At Therapy Hive many of the providers use mindfulness techniques, in addition to other therapy modalities, to help you with the presenting issues.

Simply put, mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment – without being pulled to our inner world of worries, anxieties, and insecurities, or the outer world of distractions, to-dos, and social judgment.  Mindfulness is being here, aware, and non-reactive.  While all of us have the ability to practice mindfulness, the key is truly in the word practice.  It takes time and rehearsal to cultivate the ability to reign in our thoughts and feelings, and allow ourselves to be fully present, without judgment.  Mindfulness does not necessarily mean sitting still, like a yogi, with absolute silence.  Many people find that they are able to more fully focus on the present moment when they are doing something physically active, like taking a walk, or doing a mindless (no pun intended) activity, like folding laundry.  There are apps, videos, and websites that offer guided mindfulness activities to help hone this practice, as well.

The benefits of mindfulness run the gamut from reduced stress, depression, and physical pain, to increased resilience, increased concentration, and improved sleep.  When combined with therapy and medication interventions, a mindfulness practice can help open ones’ awareness to possible emotional or social blindspots, or reduce emotional reactivity and restore balance.  Our current world is a technological marvel, with entertainment literally at our fingertips at all times.  With endless entertainment options, though, it becomes easy to be overwhelmed, or to ignore our own inner voice.  Mindfulness is a way of consciously choosing to give yourself attention, right here and now.  You can learn to release or dismiss intrusive, unhelpful thoughts, and how to increase the volume on some of the softer, more timid thoughts that may be a signal that things are going well – or not well at all.  Listening to your inner wisdom, objectively, and allowing yourself focused time within the present, can be a powerful tool in mental health and wellness.  For more information on mindfulness and techniques, check out our providers within the Therapy Hive collective.

 

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