In This Moment…
By: Rochelle Perper, Ph.D. | November 22, 2019
There is bounty in every moment of our lives. But, how do we capture it? You may have heard of the “new age” practice of mindfulness or the mindfulness groups at Therapy Changes and think this new thing has no place in your busy, full life. This is simply not true. Let me dispel that notion.
Cultivating mindfulness does not require you to sit under a tree and meditate for hours. In fact, acts of mindfulness take only brief moments throughout your day. To do what? To just be. By just being, you connect better with the present, finding intention and purpose not only in your daily activities but also in your life.
Mindfulness delivers your full awareness of and presence in the moment without becoming overwhelmed by what goes on around us or worrying about what comes. We all possess the quality of mindfulness, although learning to access it takes practice. Remember, this moment will not occur again. Take a moment to gather good from it.
How to Practice Mindfulness
Every moment provides an opportunity for mindfulness. It might not seem so at first, but your day-to-day activities offer up times for ‘mindfulness moments.’ When getting started, you may find it helpful to use guided meditations or participate in mindfulness groups and workshops offered at Therapy Changes. Such mindfulness groups provide a sense of community, an avenue for accountability, and a supportive space to connect with others while steadying and enriching your practice.
When you practice the art of mindfulness routinely, you develop the ability to engage your awareness to the present moment and fully participate in even the smallest aspects of your life. This can happen when you eat, while you shower or walk, or by simply taking three deep breaths wherever you are.
A ‘Mindfulness Moment’ Exercise
Start by setting aside 10–20 minutes to create a ‘mindfulness moment’ in your day with the following steps.
1. Sit or lay down in a comfortable position (outside, if possible, or near a window).
2. Notice how your body feels in this moment. Close your eyes; tune into your physical self.
3. Take note of your emotional state. Do you feel tired, excited, worried? Whatever the feeling, simply observe your state of being without judgment or criticism. Identify where you feel this 4. emotion in your body.
4. Inhale slowly from your abdomen through your nose in a deep, nourishing breath. Your belly will rise, and you will feel the expansion of the breath in your lungs and chest.
5. Breathe out slowly through your mouth while visualizing stress and tension melting away. Notice your belly gently fall.
6. Repeat this process until you’ve narrowed your concentration on breathing.
7. Now, begin to widen your focus with awareness of your surroundings, including sounds, sensations, and smells.
8. Observe your thoughts and ideas with gentle curiosity. If your mind starts to unfocus or wander, return your full attention to your breathing. Only then expand your awareness again.
9. When the time arises, take an affirming inhale while imagining yourself a little bit lighter as you exhale, unburdened of the hassles of everyday life.
10. Slowly open your eyes to arise grateful and awake. Say what you are grateful for and rise to face the world with deep love and reverence.
I invite you to learn more about mindfulness groups and workshops at Therapy Changes by visiting our Groups & Workshops page. Whether you want to practice mindfulness for the first time or expand your existing practice, Therapy Changes’ mindfulness groups provide an opportunity for increased awareness and deeper levels of self-understanding. We would love to have you!