How often do you take time to “stop and smell the roses”? It is important to take time in your life to slow down, relax, and breathe. An area of therapy that works on this is called “mindfulness”. Mindfulness teaches us to relax, breathe, and do our best to exist in the moment.
This is done through learning breathing exercises and practicing a some things that can help you to be more fully present in the moment. Some people listen to guided meditations, others learn routines and exercises and practice them on their own. Most mindfulness exercises take the form of closing your eyes, focusing on healthy breathing, and then selectively paying attention to one set of sensory input. For example, you might sit on your porch and take 5 minutes to notice all the sounds you hear. Alternatively you might sit in a quiet room and notice all the physical sensations you feel while breathing; the pressure of sitting on your chair, your feet on the ground, your stomach growling, etc. Another important part of these exercises is to let all thoughts pass by as best you can (not easy). For example, if you’re doing the second exercise and feel your stomach growl you might think “when did I last eat?”, “I want a cheeseburger”, or “I should be going to the gym more”. Mindfulness teaches us to notice these thoughts as fleeting things that prevent us from being fully present in the moment. Notice them, but let them pass. By doing this, you may experience a deep sense of gratitude for life and all it has to offer. When you watch this video, relax, notice the sounds you hear while listening, and be mindful of your breathing.
Mindfulness is good for everyone, but it can be especially good for anybody who has trouble just being in the moment. It can be very useful for people who have trouble with anxiety, PTSD, and generally intrusive and/or obsessive thoughts.