“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."- Annie Dillard
How do you spend your days?
Are you often caught in a spiral of worrisome thoughts? Do you notice that your mind is often fast-forwarding to the future or replaying the past? Does it feel like you are often acting on automatic pilot? You are not alone. In our fast-paced, multitasking, technology-driven society, it's quite difficult for our minds to meet our bodies in the present moment. In other words, it's very hard to be mindful.
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to what is happening in each moment, without judgment. Mindfulness helps you feel more connected to your present experience, allowing you to take in the richness and nuances of everyday life that you might otherwise overlook. In a society that focuses on the need to constantly be "doing," mindfulness helps you to channel your "being" mode, cultivating self-awareness and acceptance as you get to know yourself (and your habits) better. It provides space between a situation and your conditioned automatic reactions, empowering you to utilize more flexible, skillful responses.
One of the most effective ways to work on the "mindful muscle" is through meditation, which often uses some sort of cue to anchor you to the present moment (a mantra, the breath, body sensations, sounds).
Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, lower blood pressure, and ease perception of chronic pain. Brain imaging studies show that mindfulness meditation reduces activation in the amygdala, or "fight or flight" center, and alters regions of the brain associated with memory, worry, self-awareness, and compassion.
I often incorporate components of mindfulness into my sessions, and lead mindfulness skills and meditation training for individuals and groups. Past groups have included "Coping with Stress Through Cognitive-Behavioral and Mindfulness-Based Practices," and "Mindfulness Bootcamp."
I also offer mindfulness workshops for corporate events. Please contact me for more information.