A closer look at Mindfulness

By Richard Moore – psychologist

Mindfulness has become something of a buzzword in recent years and has come to mean different things to different people. Those things are almost always positive, such as feelings of happiness, of awakening and living in the present, but how do we go about achieving them? What can practising mindfulness really do for us and our day to day lives?

Online psychologists all agree that mindfulness is much more than a buzzword, a marketing tool or trending topic on social media. It has the potential to become a different and much more beneficial way to live your daily life; it can be a perspective, one that will reap rewards.

How we define and think about mindfulness though, can vary. If you ask a Gold Coast psychologist for example then their definition may differ slightly from that of a person looking through a more spiritual lens. Each would have something important to say and each approach might have certain things in common and that is no coincidence.

Appreciation

Appreciation is an important factor in mindfulness, moving away from taking things for granted and more towards noticing and realising the value in the things we come across. It might be simple birdsong, or your child’s smile. It might even be the feel of your favourite item of clothing or the first cool evening of autumn. It could be one of a million things we don’t acknowledge because we are effectively on auto-pilot.

Mindfulness is all about switching off that automated way of thinking and purposefully accepting and hopefully enjoying the things we might normally miss.

Returning to the moment

‘Staying in the present moment’ is a phrase we hear a lot when looking at mindfulness, yet any online psychologist knows this is something of a misconception. Can we really do that given what our minds need to process and regulate the events of each day?

What we can achieve much more easily is returning our minds to the present, learning to self-regulate our attention with an ethos of curiosity, acceptance and openness to the things it holds.

That self-regulating, attentive definition can help a lot in understanding the broad nature of mindfulness. Taking ownership of your attention and regulating your focus, whatever that focus may be on at any given time. As well as engaging with, being curious about, and open to the things we might discover and learn as a result.

To learn more about mindfulness and the techniques and strategies for achieving a more mindful lifestyle, click, tap or call me if you are in the Gold Coast area. You can also check out the online psychologist resources on my website at PSYCoaching.com.au and arrange an online consultation.

How do you practice mindfulness? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Importance of Mindfulness

gold coast psychologistTake a minute and think of any three things that are bothering you at present.  Now ask yourself – how many of those things are actually problems occurring in the here and now?

In today’s fast paced life where we often feel like we are running out of time, we often have difficulty enjoying the present moment.  All too often we are either too busy anticipating what is to come or thinking about what has passed.  Spending excess time in the past – or future – keeps us “in our heads” and leads to states of anxiety and depression.

What is Mindfulness?

The term “Mindfulness” is a translation of the Pali term Sati which is an important element in Buddhist healing methods. As an intervention strategy many online and personal therapists use mindfulness to treat an array of mental health conditions.

How Does Mindfulness Help?

Mindfulness helps by:

  • Making us aware of the ‘self’
  • Helping us to feel our surroundings and make full use of our senses
  • Allowing us a break from the chatter of our minds, giving us a chance to calm down
  • Allowing us to appreciate the beauty around us
  • Practicing and refining our concentration.

Easy Mindfulness Exercises to Try

  1. Mindful breathing: Allow the breath to flow freely. Do not try to control it. Keep breathing and stretch your arms with every inhale and exhale.  Focus all your attention on your breath.  When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath, without judgement.  
  2. Mindful observation: Select any natural object in your visual field (flowers, birds, the sky, water, a flame, a flower or even a picture) and allow yourself to become consumed by its presence.  Every time your mind gets distracted with thoughts, plans, or worries – just gently bring it back to observing the world around you.
  3. Mindful listening: This is simply selecting the music of your choice and listening to it on a low soothing volume. If it’s a song you’ve heard before, try to notice something new about it. Notice the intricacies and the complexities of the music.   When the music finishes, observe and name the next five sounds you can hear in the area around you over the next couple of minutes.
  4. Mindful eating: Take a break from the conversation and close your eyes.  Take a bite. Observe the nuances of the flavours.  Notice how it feels and tastes on different parts of your tongue. Roll it around on your tongue and observe the texture of the food.    

Mindfulness takes practice, but is well establish as an effective remedy for anxiety and depression.  Start with 5 minutes per day.

For further information, contact an online psychologist or Gold Coast Psychologist if you are in the area. Check out my website PSYCoaching.

If you have any queries or suggestions on this blog, please share in the comments below.

Strategies For Regulating Emotions

Emotional regulation is the ability to respond to emotions. It is one of the highest forms of self-control.

Stress in interpersonal relationships, things going wrong,conflicts within us and our own negative judgements can cause emotional dysregulation.

While some of us may be able to remain balanced in times of grief, some of us will break down emotionally and find our lives substantially disrupted.

Emotions are inevitable and we cannot ignore them. Rather, we must learn to think flexibly and express our emotions in a reasonable and effective way.

Types of Emotions

There are numerous different theories to describe emotions with different levels of depth. When trying to identify an emotion, we can start out by asking ourselves if we feel “mad, glad, bad, sad or scared.” A slightly more detailed conceptualisation is as follows:

Examples of Positive / Happy emotions

  • Joy
  • Surpise
  • Hope
  • Gratitude
  • Sympathy
  • Love

Negative emotions

  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Pride
  • Fear
  • Sadness

Why Emotional Regulation is Important

  • Unregulated emotions can become intense and can have long-lasting effects on our lives and those of others if we act on them innapropriately.
  • Dysregulation of emotions affects not only our minds, but also causes stress on the body.
  • Emotional dysregulation consumes our mental energy in a way that takes our attention away from other important aspects of life (both professional and personal fronts).

It often seems difficult to regulate our emotions, which is why many people rely on online counselors and psychologists for help.

Some strategies for emotional regulation

Knowing how to regulate emotions involves becoming aware of how much we are letting the emotions affect us, then knowing how we can react to them. Here are few simple strategies of regulating emotions.

  • Write down your feelings – Maintain a diary where you can write down what you feel every day, even for small incidents.  Sometimes, once our feelings are penned down, the emotional burden loosens and we are able to look at them in more productive ways.
  • Communicate – Emotions often involve other people, especially the ones who are close to us. Never refrain from communicating with people and letting them know how you feel in a good way. Having a clear, meaningful conversation can be really helpful in regulating emotions.
  • Vent out – Learn and practice expressing emotions in the right way, at the right time and to the right person. For example, if you are angry at your boss, do not displace the emotion on your kids at home. Venting emotions at the wrong place and time exacerbates the problem.
  • Time out for emotions – Take some time out for yourself and do something that you love to do. Watch movies, hang out with friends, have your favorite ice cream, get a soothing massage.  Just enjoy your time out. Let the mind calm down and let the emotions flow in the right direction.
  • Accept and let go –  We have to accept that some circumstances are beyond our control. Forgive and forget. Holding on to something that cannot be changed brings more and more negative emotion that slowly creeps into our minds.

Remember that emotions are temporary, they come and go. Don’t let them stop you from where you wish to be. You can also talk to an expert, such as an online counselor or psychologist for proper guidance.

PSYCoaching  provides experienced, caring, and affordable support in the Gold Coast or online.

For any queries or feedback, please contact us at psycoaching.com.au.
Otherwise, leave your comments below.

Remember to take care of yourself.  You deserve it.
– Richard