We all experience stress. Stress can impact almost every part of the body and mind, changing the way we think, feel and behave. People typically underestimate how much stress they are experiencing, and wait until their mind or body is in crisis to seek help or change. The act of being mentally out of the present moment compromises our physical and mental health. Think about the last time you were anxious: it was likely due to a worry about what was yet to come. We call this “time travelling” – placing yourself in a future moment and expecting a bad outcome of sorts. For example, individuals who date often worry “He/She is not going to call me again.” Or a professional with a tough client might imagine: “When this client complains about the meeting, my boss is going to be angry with me.” When we cast predictions into the future, we take ourselves out of the present moment and leave ourselves vulnerable and less effective to manage complex situations.
At times it is necessary to think ahead and reflect on the past, but moderation in either direction is key. Not being able to enjoy the present moment is at the core of distress and imbalance. The good news is we have an effective solution for minimizing this distress! This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the practice of staying in the present moment, with noncritical, nonjudgmental attention. Mindfulness is a proactive approach that can be practiced anywhere and at any time. Mindfulness brings our mind and body into balance by quieting the parts of our nervous system that react to stress and allowing us to respond with clarity, efficiency and focus.
Mindfulness is not a fad or a hip trend. In fact, meditation and mindfulness, are becoming key components of successful businesses such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Aetna, to name just a few. At SelfWorks, we can incorporate mindfulness into your existing treatment. Additionally, we offer several mindfulness groups per week where you can learn and practice these skills in a calm, nonjudgmental setting. Click to see our calendar. These groups welcome individuals new and old to mindfulness practice. One group, led by Dr. Amy Vigliotti, uses exercises form her CD, Unwind: Guided Relaxation. You are welcome to download the meditations and practice on your own. Just 10 minutes a day can be restorative and productive!
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to see if mindfulness training can benefit you: