Let’s start with what mindfulness is not:
mindfulness is not rushing from one activity to another
mindfulness is not multitasking
mindfulness is not watching TV while scrolling on your phone
mindfulness is not eating while scrolling on your phone
mindfulness is not being with friends while scrolling on your phone
wait…mindfulness is simply not scrolling on your phone! Okay, where were we?
mindfulness is not driving while texting
mindfulness is not watching your kid play while planning your grocery list
mindfulness is not day dreaming during another boring meeting
mindfulness is not googling all day to distract from your life
mindfulness is not listening to podcasts or talking on the phone while walking, driving, cooking or cleaning
mindfulness is not drinking/smoking/eating to numb and ignore your unhappiness
mindfulness is not planning for the future or thinking of the next thing to do
mindfulness is not judging and criticizing
mindfulness is not comparing, competing or leveling up
mindfulness is not wanderlusting, doodling or zoning out
mindfulness is not always thinking about what’s better or what could be different
Well, that sure feels like ALL of life is NOT mindfulness. So, what is mindfulness?
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: On purpose, in the present moment, without judgment. Instead of judgment or criticism, this attention is curious and kind.” (definition from Jon Kabat Zinn)
Mindfulness means we are present. Being present means we’re completely immersed in what we are doing in that moment. Think about when you’re in the zone- you’re focused, passionate, productive, happy. Same goes for simple things like walking your dog or driving. You’re not thinking about your to-do list, or the traffic, or the weather, or that annoying conversation with your sister. You are noticing with a sense of detachment the colors around you, the smells, the sounds, the look on your dog’s face, your feet hitting the ground. Or when you’re driving you’re noticing the sound of your car, your body in your seat, the movement of your car, the images passing by. You’re not thinking, judging, worrying, complaining or comparing. You’re being.
Mindfulness takes practice. In today’s fast paced and always connected world it is not our natural response to slow down and just be. We’re always feeling pressure to do more, multitask, follow up and check in. But a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The more we drift our attention to things other than the present moment, the more discontent, stressed and disconnected we are. Chronic stress, anxiety, ADHD and depression continue to rise at epidemic levels at the same time our lives are busier and more out of touch with reality. There is a connection.
Mindfulness can help you ease the pressure, enjoy your day to day more, and find contentment. Practicing and integrating mindfulness into your life will resolve anxieties, depression, stress and overall emotional disturbances. Mindfulness and slowing down is the answer, we just have to slow down and focus enough to give it a try. Not sure about starting a meditation practice? We have practical tips for starting and keeping your meditation practice.
Through our integrative counseling style, we offer psychotherapy for talking through your pain points, yoga therapy to bring balance to your body, nutrition to repair your system, and mindfulness meditation to find that elusive contentment. You can find solace when working with us individually or through any of our workshops or group experiences.
We’re here for you. It doesn’t have to be this hard.