Happyyy Monday friends!
Hope you had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed the beautiful weather outside!
This past weekend, I was reflecting on what this Pandemic has taught us.
For me it is this: STOP waiting to LIVE TOMORROW. I’ve always been an incredibly anxious person. What this means is that, I am always worrying about next week, next month, next year.. the next thing, that I often miss out on the stuff in front of me. This is incredibly ironic, because when I work with clients who have anxiety… all the work we do is about bracketing these anxieties and coming back to the present and focusing on what we can control
So my lesson is to be more present, more mindful, more aware of the decisions we make NOW, HERE, in this moment. And for us that started with getting a car after our last car died, that we WANTED, not needed. For the first time in both our lives, Shafi and I chose something because we actually wanted it, versus for practical reasons (eg will all the family fit, what about guests, what about a future baby etc). We both said… screw that. And we went for it. And honestly, I’m so happy. Shafi is happy. Pegging our decision now on the future is something I’m deciding isn’t worth the worry and planning. And to be honest: it’s freeing!
I know, being present and mindful is definitely not easy, and I have been finding there are some free apps that are incredibly helpful and useful in cultivating this mindset.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of nonjudgmental awareness of what’s happening in the present moment, including the awareness of one’s own thoughts, feelings, and senses.
Why practice Mindfulness?
When we practice Mindfulness, we first become more aware of the content of our thoughts, and what kinds of thinking patterns we engage in. For most of us, there are certain patterns of ways of thinking we use to make sense of the world. With being more present, and aware of these, we can learn to develop a non-judgemental stance towards these and become more accepting of them. I find this worksheet by Therapist Aid very helpful and you can download it for free from their site.
How can I practice Mindfulness?
The worksheet linked again here, has some great places to start. I find apps on my phone to be incredibly helpful. Some of them are Headspace, Calm, and 3-Minute Mindfulness are all great places to start.
The Canadian organization Anxiety Canada, also has a free app called Mind Shift which is a great resource.
Why is Mindfulness Important?
Some notable benefits of Mindfulness, backed by research and evidence are improvements in :
- mood and overall emotional regulation
- ability to concentrate and focus
- symptoms of depression and/or anxiety
- reductions in over-thinking or rumination
Please note that these are some improvements, and all may not be applicable to each situation or individual. This post is also a psychoeducational tool, and does not serve to replace therapy or counselling services provided by a licensed provider.
I hope this was helpful for you, and let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.