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Mindfulness & Me

I’ve never really given mindfulness a lot of time. It sounded nice for hippies, but I hadn’t done much research into the evidence base for it or adopted the practices into my day-to-day.

Turns out the hum of anxiety I often feel at different times of the day can be soothed and supported by go-to mindfulness. It helps with overwhelm.

Mindfulness is pretty much as it sounds, being mindful in the moment. Present in what is happening right now, not caught up in the future or weighed down by the past. Easier said than done. But doable.

Like you, let’s be real, I’m attached at the hip to my phone. I resent the urgency it sucks me into and also enjoy the interaction, I’m curious, nosey about the world and eager to connect with people. Mostly, unless I’m brain tired and need to replenish my energy and switch off for a while which I have to do every day.

But that’s really hard and leads to an anxiety of its own. I want to be available for my partner, kids and clients. What if someone needs me??? And there it is. The addiction to saviourism and needing to be needed. But I’m a child of the 70s and 80s, I remember a time before phones, we can put things in place so our people can find us.

So this past weekend I practiced a few mindfulness exercises.

I brushed my teeth and only did that.

I ate at least one mindful meal per day where I my phone was put away and I sat by myself with my plate or gave my full attention to the people at the table with me.

I watched an AFL game where I only checked my phone in the breaks.

I sat and looked at the trees for a few moments and studied them.

I put a timer on and just sat for a minute. It felt long.

I’ve also revisited my meditation practice. 20 mins every day. Deep breathes with longer exhales. I like to meditate to music so I choose a piece at that length. It felt good, I’ve been calmer and I remembered why I love it.

Just pick something. Try and be present in areas of your life you think you can sustain. Meditation isn’t for everyone, it can be unsettling, but you can find what works for you.

The research shows regular mindfulness practices can change our brains in regions associated with attention and emotional regulation. It can reduce anxiety. It shows mindfulness can help us not to react under times of stress in ways that are unhelpful. It reduces rumination on negative thoughts.

It’s helped me with that hum of anxiety I mentioned these last few days. The brain strain that comes from trying to have too many tabs open in my thinking. I’m training myself to focus on one thing at a time and be there fully. Not talking on the phone and scrolling at the same time. Present with the conversation I’m in. Allowing today’s anxieties to be enough for today.

What about mindfulness and you? Have you tried mindfulness practices? How did it go?

Work with me – you can make a time to see me in counselling here.

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