Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experiences” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness is an easy, inexpensive, and wonderful way to support your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. What is mindfulness? Try this: Think of your favorite restaurant. Now imagine standing in front of the building just before you open the door. Imagine yourself opening the door. You would be able to describe, probably in great detail, exactly what you see. Notice what you feel like when stepping into your favorite restaurant.
There you go! You have just engaged in a mindfulness moment. You brought your attention into the moment and created a space where you were focused. You were aware of your thoughts, feelings and maybe even a bodily sensation of being hungry. Meditation uses similar skill sets to mindfulness. Meditation is a mental exercise that involves relaxation, focus, and awareness. Meditation is to the mind what physical exercise is to the body.
Awareness & Acceptance
Mindfulness is the practice of maintaining an “in the moment awareness” of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment. This practice can be very relaxing, centering and renewing. Acceptance is a key to mindfulness meditation. We pay attention to thoughts and feelings without judging them. We believe there is no right or wrong way of thinking or feeling in any given moment.
A mindfulness meditation practice can start with simply sitting down, relaxing and breathing deeply. This simple action helps center the mind and bring our thoughts into the present moment. Close your eyes and take notice of your breath – breathing in and out. After a few minutes, move your attention to your body. Start at the top of your head and move your way down one part at a time, noting any sensations like warmth, stiffness or tingling. Just notice each aspect of the body. Now take a moment to notice what part of your body feels the most relaxed. Whatever part feels relaxed, let your awareness go there. Spend a few moments noticing the calm. Then imagine that calm as something with dimension, such as a color. Let this part of your body slowly share its color (relaxation) with the rest of your body. When your entire body is this color, observe what your body feels like.
CCM Counseling & Wellness therapists often incorporate meditation and other mindfulness techniques into their sessions with clients. One of our favorite books to reference is “Stillness Speaks” by Eckhart Tolle. Psychotherapy is about change, making the changes that will empower you. Learning to hold a “nonjudgmental curiosity” enhances your ability to recognize, observe, and experience your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without being overwhelmed. By being less reactive, you create a space to more assertively choose how to define your life.