Do you have a mindfulness practice? Do you know what Mindfulness is? According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the father of mindfulness, “mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, as if your life depended on it”. This is something I have always had an interest in and still do, but I don’t make time to make it a formal practice. I do turn to it in times of stress and anxiety, mostly with my breathing.
Today has been a really bad day at work. Part of it is because I don’t feel well, but part of it is because I have a crappy schedule today (partly my fault for blocking time off and then changing it and partly my patients deciding to not show up). Today is really reminding me that I need to do something different. I need to get my act together and maybe break out on my own. I am not sure how to do that or what direction I want to go in, but I know that I need to do something different, something that I believe in, something that people follow through with. I think in our current culture, mindfulness is very trendy. While I am not thrilled that it has become a trendy holistic practice, I am happy that it is more popular because of it being trendy right now. Mindfulness is not new; mindfulness based stress reduction has been around since the 70’s and I know mindfulness practices have been around for a very long time.
I often talk to a lot of people in my therapy practice about mindfulness, especially with breathing practices. I also talk to people about using their senses to bring us back to the present moment. People seem to really respond to the breathing exercises. They also seem to respond to using their senses to come back to the present moment. What I haven’t talked to people about is the other senses that we have.
I have also started talking a little about the fight or flight process in the body and the brain. Sometimes, I feel like I need to learn more about the physical process of anxiety because people seem to really like that explanation. It’s nice to be able to say that when you practice mindfulness, the brain changes from being lit up in the fight or flight center to the part of the brain that says you are ok, you are safe. I think people like hearing that there is “proof” that it works.
It’s time to take the time to learn more and practice. One thing that Jon Kabat Zinn said in his talk was that mindfulness is something that needs to be practiced daily and that is my goal.
What are your thoughts on a mindfulness practice? I have so many dreams and goals, this is ust one of them.