Practicing Mindfulness

Did you know that there is one practice you could incorporate into your life that can increase gratitude,
help with emotion regulation, and improve mental clarity? It’s practicing mindfulness, and it can help with all of that,
and more. And there is a simple way to incorporate practicing mindfulness into your daily life with ease. But before
we get into that, let’s define. Mindfulness is the practice of becoming aware of the present moment, and
noticing one’s own thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations with a calm acceptance.

How do I start practicing mindfulness

Mindfulness is a cognitive skill that, like any other skill, takes practice to improve in and master. An easy
way to start is to practice mindfulness in small moments throughout the day. Begin the practice of
becoming aware of your surroundings and inner world, and see if you can remove judgment of the
present moment. Once you know what it feels like to become aware of the present moment, see if you
can start to do it daily, and often. In order to remember to do this, it can be helpful to tie the practice to
something you already do daily. For example, let’s say I am going to try to be mindful every time I wash
my hands that day. That means that multiple times a day, I will have a specific but quick time to check-in
on my thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.

How does Mindfulness help

Mindfulness can be helpful with emotion regulation because you will be able to monitor your mood throughout
the day, and employ a coping strategy to manage stress if you begin to feel strong emotions arising. It can
help me to improve contact with the present moment, which tends to increase gratitude for the world
around us because we are able to notice little things that may have escaped our consciousness before.
And it helps to improve mental clarity, because if we can become present, that means we are getting less
hooked to thoughts of the future or the past, which tends to bring about feelings such as anxiety, regret,
depression, or sadness. There are many more benefits to practicing mindfulness, and it doesn’t hurt to try
it out yourself and see what you notice. However, it’s important to remember that even those who have
perfected mindfulness will still have moments of stress. This is not a fix-all skill, and we are all human,
but if we can do something that helps to ease the burdens that we carry, why wouldn’t we strive to
incorporate it?

What to keep in mind

One of the main things to keep in mind when practicing mindfulness is self-compassion. If we hold our
thoughts and feelings gently, curiously, and with kindness, we are more likely to have an easier time
accepting those thoughts and feelings as we drop into awareness of them through mindfulness practice.
Another thing that can help is grounding. Back to the hand-washing example, you can take the time to
engage your senses by feeling the water running over your hands, smelling the scent of the soap, and
watching the bubbles. Lastly, it can be helpful to draw attention to your breath, and practice deep
breathing if possible. There are many more ways to practice mindfulness in your life, but this can be a
great way to start to build the habit.

If you are ready to seek help from a counselor, please reach out. You can call us at 832-352-1600 or contact us through our website at txharmonycounseling.com/contact-us.

Priscilla Buentello, LPC Associate

Priscilla Buentello, LPC Associate

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