Do you regularly feel stressed and overwhelmed? Do you have a hard time living in the moment? Do you notice yourself going through life on auto-pilot? If so, it might be very helpful for you to learn more about mindfulness. Mindful defines mindfulness as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
Typically, when we experience a very stressful situation, our automatic reflexes to flee, fight, or freeze take over as a response to extremely stressful situations. Mindfulness works to interrupt these reflexive reactions, and has been known to reduce anxiety, and depressive symptoms as well. This blog will be a first in a series of mindfulness exercises that you can practice in your daily life.
Today, we’ll begin with an exercise that you can easily incorporate into your morning routine:
- Pick an activity that is already part of your daily morning routine- like brushing your teeth, shaving, or taking a shower. As you go through the activity, try to fully focus on what you are doing: the body movements, the taste, the touch, the smell, the sight, the sound, etc.
- For example, when you’re in the shower, notice the sounds of the water coming out of the nozzle; the feeling as it hits your body. Notice the temperature of the water, and the feel of it in your hair, and on your shoulders, and running down your legs. Notice the various smells of the soap, and the water itself- and notice the feel of each against your skin. Notice the sight of the water or condensation, and notice your own movements of your arms as you lather, rinse, repeat.
- If and when thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them be, then simply bring your attention back to the shower. Again and again, your attention will wander. As soon as you realize this has happened, gently acknowledge it, note what distracted you, and bring your attention back to the shower.
This exercise is adapted from this great resource which provides many other mindfulness exercises for you to incorporate into your daily life!
If you would like to engage and learn about more mindfulness exercises, feel free to contact a GROW therapist to set up an appointment to find ways to incorporate these practices into your life.
Written by: Jasmine Tyson