Here at Ketamine Wellness Centers we believe that wellness is not a goal to be achieved, but an ongoing practice and lifestyle. Most recently at our Stress Management Group we discussed the topic of Mindfulness and the many benefits of incorporating this practice into your life. Many of you might be wondering what exactly is Mindfulness and why is it gaining so much attention and popularity? Simply put, Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment. In a sense, it is bringing yourself back to reality when so much of our time is spent reliving the past and planning our futures. It is being aware of your “automatic pilot” mode which often includes reacting without thinking and instead becoming an active participant capable of making choices on how to respond.
One of the most challenging aspects of mindfulness is letting go of the temptation to judge your experiences as good or bad. As humans we are conditioned to make assessments in our environment as a way of coping which often result in fight, flight, or freeze behaviors. What most of us don’t realize is that we often get stuck in in these modes which can take a toll on both body and mind. Mindfulness can help improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain by allowing you to simply observe and accept them rather than fighting and trying to suppress painful body sensations and emotions. It is different from traditional cognitive behavioral therapy which generally focuses on changing the way you think in order to change your behaviors. Instead, mindfulness values self-acceptance and not attaching meaning and judgment which can help break harmful thinking patterns and rumination.
So for those of you who think mindfulness is a practice of sitting in a dark room meditating and focusing on ridding yourself of thoughts for hours at a time, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Mindfulness is something you can do anywhere and anytime and you can start with easy mindfulness exercises that will have an extraordinary impact on your self-awareness. One of the best places to start in developing your mindfulness practices is with the body. This can including breathing, posture, and sensations. Here are a few examples of simple mindfulness exercises you can start today!
- Mindfulness of Breath-For the next 60 seconds your task is to focus all of your attention on your breathing. Be ready to catch your mind from wondering and simply bring yourself back to your breath.
- Quick check in- What are you experiencing right now? Hearing? Feeling? Seeing? Thinking? Take a minute and pause and just notice what you are experiencing.
- Create a slogan that will help you remember to stay present. Ex: “Just Breathe”.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic please reach out, let us know how we can help. We offer both group and individual counseling and a tailored wellness program to help you live the life you deserve.
Christi Gorman is a Licensed Professional Counselor for Ketamine Wellness Centers.