The secret to discovering joy all around you
Do you fall into bed at night and wonder where the day went? Have you ever sat down for lunch and finished your entire meal without tasting a single bite? With your attention being pulled in so many directions and your eyes focusing on multiple screens at all times, it can be hard to turn off auto-pilot and enjoy the moment. As a result, you end up just going through the motions and can fail to notice the simple pleasures life has to offer.
That’s what a traditional practice (and currently one of the hottest trends in mental health) is trying to change. The concept is called mindfulness, and it’s a way of paying attention to and seeing clearly whatever is happening in our lives in any specific moment.
Being more mindful won’t eliminate life’s pressures, but it can help you respond to them in a calmer manner that is better for your head and body.
Being more mindful will help you:
- Become fully present in your relationships and work
- Slow down and fully experience your life
- Respond more effectively to complex or difficult situations
- See situations more clearly
- Feel more creative
- Achieve balance and resilience at work and at home
Over the last 30 years, two different mindfulness practices have become widely used. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program where individuals spend time learning to better cope with current stress and stressful situations. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is taught by licensed mental health workers and is meant to assist people who have histories of depression and anxiety.
Want to give it a shot?
Both MBSR and MBCT are taught as eight-week programs. You’ll learn a number of specific meditation practices proven to help reduce “brain chatter” and respond better to thoughts and feelings. If you’re interested in learning more about the practice of Mindfulness in Michigan, check out these local centers:
- Awakening Health Counseling in Rochester and Alden
- Mindful Michigan in Traverse City
- Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness
You can also practice being mindful without taking a class by trying these tips:
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take steady, deep breaths and focus on inhaling and exhaling. Your concentration will improve and ease your stress level.
- Instead of listening to music during your commute, spend time observing the sounds and people around you and focus on what they make you think and feel.
- Don’t multitask while eating lunch. Concentrate on the food, how it tastes, and how you feel as you eat it.
Photo credit: sarahriceNC