TOBY MIZZI, COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGIST, STRONG MINDS PSYCHOLOGY
Over the past month or two, I have provided a guide to a number of specific mindfulness meditation practices that you may have had the opportunity to practice. However, I thought it would be worthwhile this week revisiting the idea of informal practice or, more importantly, how to bring a sense of present-moment awareness to our daily life without the need for formal practice.
If you have been able to practice some of the exercises in a formal sense, that is great. But for many of us, we just run out of time or perhaps do not make the time. That is OK too; part of the philosophy of mindfulness is the notion of being non-judgemental. Thus, judging or criticising our self for not practising is not helpful (e.g., “I should be making time for this”). Formal practice is great and it is helpful, but there is no reason you cannot apply mindfulness at any time during your daily life. In fact, it is the day to day application that is often most beneficial. Being able to be fully aware of the present moment is incredibly important. I touched on this in an earlier blog about our relationships and how being mindful during our interactions with others is so important.
It is not just being mindful of our interactions with others, it is the capacity to remain mindful during times of difficulty such as those times we might experience stress, anger, or anxiety. Being in tune with these feelings can help us respond in more appropriate ways. For instance, if we are more mindful of our anger, we may become more sensitive to signs that we are getting angry and we may be able to respond in a less reactive way. If we can just take a step back and look at the emotion, and the accompanying thoughts, we may be able to get through it with less struggle. That does not mean the feeling goes away necessarily, but rather we just relate to it in a different way with more awareness and curiosity to the experience we are having.
Why not take a moment right not to be fully aware of your current experience. What are you feeling? What sensations do you notice both outside and inside of yourself? What thoughts are running through your head? You can be mindful anytime you decide to be fully present and aware of the experiencing you are having. You do not have to dedicate a specific time of day to be present. And remember, being present is one of the greatest gifts of all.
About the Author:
Toby shares his time between the Strong Minds Psychology team, Swinburne University, and his young family. He is passionate about providing individualised support, and empowering people to enhance their mental health. Toby provides counselling and therapy for children, adolescents, adults and couples – helping with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, relationship difficulties, grief & loss, and family conflict. Mindful Mondays will be a regular blog on our website and Facebook page.
If you would like to discuss how the Strong Minds Psychology team can support your mental health needs, complete the form below or call us on 0417 389 941.