Page 11 - AreaNewsletters "Aug 2020" issue
P. 11

Practicing Mindfulness
by Dawn Gabriel, MA, LPC, Founder/Owner Authentic Connections Counseling Center
WHAT is Mindfulness?
Focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting (without judgment) one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
WHY should we practice Mindfulness?
Some of the many benefits include: reducing stress, in- creasing focus, being more “present” therefore improving our relationships. Being mindful can also help reduce the headtrash that creeps up on us when we are in the autopilot mode.
HOW do we practice Mindfulness? Here’s one way to start: BREATHING
Phase 1. Sounds simple but how many of us really slow down to take a deep breath? Breathe in from your belly. Not your lungs/ chest area. Take a deep slow breath in and count to 4. Pause and hold for the count of 2. Exhale for 4. Pause for 2. And inhale for 4.
Phase 2. Take notice.What did you notice? Any shifts in your mental, physical or emotional state? What type of feelings, thoughts and body sensations? Close your eyes and check in with yourself. Don’t try to judge or analyze or answer anything. Just notice.
Phase 3. Spend a minute just focusing on your breathing normally. Notice how your breath feels in your nose, lungs, belly etc... Bind your awareness to your breathing. Redirect your thoughts to just the breathing sensations. Even if you have to redirect 100 times, it’s OK! Some people like to breathe out with the word “relax” or “peace” to help redirect.
Whatever method of mindfulness you choose, find a way that works best for you and be patient with yourself. Remember it takes time to learn new habits, it takes time to reach the level of mindfulness you desire. I would be happy to help, call or click the links in the ad.
11 Castle Rock “AreaNewsletters • August 2020

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