• C. Mead L.C.S.W., L.C.P.C.

Why you're missing out not using mindfulness.

Mindfulness practice has become one of the most important developments and integrations of eastern philosophy into western psychology in recent decades. It offers a huge paradym shift and a much needed addition to our toolbox to address areas popular cognitive therapy approaches often miss. Yearly, a huge number of people share an all too common struggle with chronic stress, depression, and anxiety often resulting from seriously challenging life circumstances. When depression lingers, perceptions can sometimes become distorted and altered in unhealthy ways making our feelings worse in an endless feedback loop of negative thoughts and feelings. Thinking your way out or finding a solution from within can be an enormously difficult if not impossible undertaking. Months of self-reflection, analysis, and therapy may fail to resolve the underlying issue.

Mindfulness is a practice that offers a different path through a wider observer perspective of the self. It offers a reorientation to a more natural peaceful state of being. Rather than expending energy attempting to alter or counter unhelpful thoughts, a simple rebooting or refocus of our minds so to speak is the primary goal. An incessant mind can drive itself to exhaustion with constant rumination about past, worry about the future, or criticism of self, others, and the present moment. Mindfulness practice is about being mindful to observe not only what our minds are doing but also what is happening within our bodies and in the environment around us.

Mindfulnes encourages you to take a more helicopter observer view of yourself, above your mind and thought stream, and break free of incessant, unhelpful, and unhealthy thought patterns. Mindfulness encourages "getting out of your head" by rising above your thought stream and returning to your body in the present moment. It's a chance to shut your mental thought stream off for a while and simply refocus on what you're doing and experiencing in the present real-time moment. Worries about current, past, or future problems disappear as you experience the present moment as it is without a mental filter or incessant commentary. When thoughts wander, gently guide yourself back to the current experience. Instead of resisting the present moment, it is simply experienced in real-time as it is without judgement. Just "be" and "experience" instead of thinking, judging, commenting. You might find a wonderful place of respite for a weary mind exhausted from troubles. Your brain and mind likely need a rest. Mindfulness is more than an exercise but rather a practice that is built on exercise and lifestyle change much like other wellness practices. There's a whole lot more to learn about it but, that's a good place to start.

I took this photo at a botanical garden in Brazil. See if there is a botanical garden near you and take a mindfulness excursion to practice resting your mind and rejuvenate your spirit.

Zen Fountain

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