Previously we’ve discussed how thoughts, visualization, foods, disassociation and self-talk can help lead us out of depression. Now let’s explore mindfulness.
The word ‘Mindful’, means taking heed, or care, being conscious. And the word ‘Conscious’, means being aware and awake.
Most of us are not really aware or awake, we think we are, but we are really running on auto pilot, continuously being in a state of ‘Reaction’ or ‘Resistance’. Mindfulness means paying attention on purpose. Being here and now with our present experiences in a non-judgemental way. Nothing is perceived to be either good or bad. Situations can be thought about in many ways.
We are like a boat without oars, being pushed this and that way, as life throws stuff at us. Our reactions are based on thoughts about past experiences, or fearful thoughts of the future. We are rarely present in the now moment, yet that is the only time we have some control.
Something happens that we don’t like or want, and we set up resistance in our mind to it. When we resist something, our body and mind perceives this as a threat to the natural balance of things. We trigger the stress response and we stop our minds from finding solutions.
Tips for being mindful
- When your thoughts go to the past or future, gently bring them into the present moment. Take a few slow deep breaths in and out. Notice your surroundings. Be kind and patient with yourself. Say ‘I’m ok now in this moment’
- Develop a sense of gratitude. Say ‘I have more than enough’.
- If you’re feeling angry, sad etc. do not judge the feeling, say ‘Oh here’s comes anger, what brought that on?’ In that mindful moment you have a chance to reflect or react in a different way than you did previously. You will no longer be reacting on auto pilot.
- Do one thing at a time and be fully present with it. If you’re drinking or eating, taste, smell, notice texture etc. When washing the dishes, feel the suds, see the rainbow colours. In the rain, look at the droplets on a branch, there’s a tiny world reflected there. If walking, notice your feet connecting with the ground, feel the sun, or wind, warmth of your clothes, look at the sky. If with someone, listen carefully to what they say, really look at them, hear them. Be present.
- If ill, in pain, depressed etc. Listen to your body, what’s it trying to tell you? If you’ve got a headache, ask yourself what was happening in your life prior to that? If you have pain, what is paining you in your life? What emotional conflicts have you not dealt with? What thoughts or emotions do you hold onto that might create pain for you. If you are getting frequent colds etc. your immune system has been weakened by stress, not nurturing yourself etc. Ignore it and other things may happen to draw your attention to where your body feels out of balance. If you’re depressed or feeling low, what are you resisting? What can you not accept? What can you not forgive?
With mindfulness, we can become aware and rest before our body makes us. We can create new meaning in our lives and improve the relationship with ourselves and others.
Part 7 Self- Esteem
Paula is an Author/ Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog email@example.com