We’re going to talk a little bit about mindfulness. I know that mindfulness is kind of a big buzzword in the community and in recovery. Mindfulness just means paying attention in the moment, on purpose, without judgement, and with curiosity. So, how do we do that?
One of the easiest ways is to stop for a minute (especially if you’re feeling any kind of anxiety or stress) and take a moment to listen to your breath and pay attention. As you feel your mind start to wander, observe it with curiosity, and then slowly bring your thoughts back into your breath and just breathe slowly. The more you practice this, the easier it becomes, and your thoughts do not have as much control over your emotions.
Another way is to get out in nature and hone in on your senses. Take a few moments to stop and wonder, “What am I feeling?” and then, “What am I seeing, what am I hearing, what am I tasting, what am I smelling?” When you hone in on your senses, it instantly brings you back into the moment. It alleviates that need to obsess about the future or the past.
There are some great apps that offer guided meditation that can be very helpful in the beginning. One of my favorites is the Calm App, which is about $15 a month. It also helps with sleep, and lack of sleep can be very stress inducing. Another app that offers a lot of free meditation is Insight Timer. You can download either of these from the app store on your phone.
One thing about mindfulness and meditation is that it is a key component to neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to create new neural networks at any age, and in order to do that we have to have the mind in a relaxed state. It’s important to remember that the mind is like a muscle. The more you practice, the better you will become. I recommend dedicating 5 minutes to mindfulness every day, and then increase that as you go along and see how you feel. Good luck with this week’s tip, and we will see you next week.