Mindfulness-Based Techniques from an Orlando Therapist
If you’re like me you’ve heard a lot lately about mindfulness, meditation, and living in the moment. Sometimes these techniques seem abstract and elusive. But thanks to our brain’s neuroplasticity, or ability to change, anyone can become a mindfulness master!
Researchers identified several benefits of practicing mindfulness including decreased anxiety, depression, rumination, and emotional reactivity. Research shows mindfulness can help increase well-being, positive affect, and concentration. Mindfulness allows us to observe our thoughts and feelings while not reacting to stress. In addition to the psychological benefits, researchers looked into the physical benefits of practicing mindfulness. This includes fostering a healthier immune system, improving sleep quality, and decreasing blood pressure. Changes in brain structuring and functioning have also been observed in areas associated with attention, emotion regulation, empathy, and bodily awareness.
At its core, mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment. This includes focusing on our physical body, our thoughts, feelings, and observations. Mindfulness involves letting go of any judgment or need to take action. One important thing to remember is certain mindfulness techniques work better for some people. Trying multiple techniques is the best way to discover which ones work for you.
Mindful Appreciation is all about taking notice of the easily overlooked aspects of our lives. To practice this technique, think of anything in your life that goes unnoticed. Examples may include the pants you’re wearing, a tree outside your home, the living room fan, someone who popped up on social media, and the list goes on. For this example, let’s use the fan (I’ll use my living room one, but you can pick any fan you’re a fan of–pun intended). Now take a few moments and really consider all the things we can appreciate about this fan. Of course, there’s the breeze. Does it turn on and off? Reliability is nice. Who thought of making a fan attached to the ceiling (or standing on the floor, sitting on a desk, etc)? Clever idea. Are those metal screws? Such small bits of metal can hold together immense things, it’s pretty impressive when you think about it. Appreciate all the many steps, the years of progress, the people involved, even the invention of electricity, each little factor that combined to bring you this fan. There’s an endless list of appreciation behind nearly anything you can think of. You may notice yourself thinking some unappreciative thoughts during this exercise (like how the fan blades accumulate dust!). But that’s perfectly fine and provides a great opportunity to practice noticing your thoughts. Let go of any judgment you may have for thinking critical thoughts during an appreciation exercise. Practice moving back to the exercise, continuing to search for other things to appreciate.
Walking meditation is a great way to practice mindfulness while getting the body moving. Walking outside offers the added benefit of connecting with our natural surroundings. For this exercise, try focusing on each of your senses while taking a walk outside. Whether you practice in a beautiful garden or walk to the mailbox, what matters most is that you give it a try! Focusing on touch, notice how the ground feels underneath your feet with each step, considering any stiffness in your body. Instead of using headphones, listen to the sounds around you. Practice noticing any judgments you may have. For instance, did you decide a particular sound was pleasant? Was the sun too bright? Notice these judgments, then go back to listening and observing. Move through each of your senses. Do you see textures on a tree trunk? Smell the leaves? Pick one up and give it a good sniff! Taste anything? Take a sip from a water bottle or lick your lips. If your thoughts wander, notice that too. Then bring your mind back to your senses and continue observing your walk.
Body scanning is an exercise that can be practiced in an infinite number of settings as all you need is yourself! Research shows body scan meditation has both mental and physical benefits including improving sleep, stress, and focus. This exercise strengthens our physical connection to our body. When we experience a traumatic event, our brain often builds barriers between our physical body and our mind. Body scanning can help bridge this gap for those who describe dissociation or feeling distant from themselves. First, make sure you are in a comfortable relaxed position. Focus on each part of your body, paying attention to any feelings you have. Beginning with the tips of your toes, move up each part of your foot and then up towards your ankle and so on through your legs, torso, arms, etc. Take a few seconds to consider each part of your body and any tension, discomfort, relaxation, or any other feelings you encounter. Again, notice any thoughts or judgments that come up. If your mind begins to wander, bring your attention back to your body. Next time, try scanning from the top of your head down to your toes instead. Want to mix things up? Progressive muscle relaxation is a related technique. Rather than just noticing each part of your body, intentionally relax each body part as you go. Remember, every technique is different. Find what works best for you!
Are you Interested in Starting Mindfulness-Based Counseling in Orlando, FL?
The Mindful Practice located in Winter Park, FL is here to help you address and manage your symptoms. Our skilled therapists are here for you and offer both in-person and online therapy to help you. Start living a meaningful life by following these steps:
- Contact us for your free consultation at The Mindful Practice.
- Schedule their first appointment with a therapist for teens.
- Watch your teenagers’ mental health and well-being thrive.
Other Services At The Mindful Practice in Winter Park, FL
We offer many different types of mental health services at our Winter Park, FL-based counseling practice, and online therapy throughout the state of Florida. We also offer depression treatment, anxiety treatment, and trauma therapy. As well as post-bariatric surgery therapy, grief counseling, and life transitions therapy. Additionally, our therapists offer EMDR therapy and mindfulness-based therapy. Contact us today.