When was the last time you truly took even just a short moment to stop and really check in to see how you were feeling? If no, do so now and if yes, try it again. Stop and focus on the words on this page and just breath. Concentrate on how your breathing feels. Do you notice anything about it? If so, make a short note of it and continue concentrating on that breath. Now that you’ve made it this far, did you actually do it? If so, you were just practicing something called “mindfulness”.
Mindfulness is the practice of experiencing and appreciating the current moment. It is an exercise in centering your mind and focusing on your entire being on a moment-to-moment basis. We say exercise because practicing mindfulness is sort of like strengthening a muscle: it takes time and practice. Since our practice focuses on the overall wellness of our clients, mindfulness is something our counselors employ to help our clients with a variety of issues including (but not limited to) anxiety and depression. Some mindfulness techniques that our counselors are trained in include meditation, breathing exercises (like the one above), and body scanning. The purpose of these is to shift the awareness from the past and future to the now and what is happening in this moment.