Updated: Feb 25, 2022
We have talked about how to use Mindfulness to help you be aware of others, now lets talk ab how it can help you, and some simple techniques you can use to help you become more aware of your feelings, emotions, and thoughts and how to deal with them if they become overwhelming or upsetting.
Believe it or not, you can use mindfulness when you are eating. Try and pay more attention to taste, texture, flavours. When you are preparing your food, even if it's a sandwich, notice what you are doing, become focused on your actions. Notice how food feels on your tongue, the temperature of it, and the sensations it may make you feel. Is it sweet or sour? There are many ways to be mindful when preparing and eating food and who knows if you pay more attention you may enjoy your humble sandwich even more.
Another area you can be more aware of is when you exercise. Even if you are just going out for a walk, look at your surroundings, notice the temperature, and how that makes your body feel. Try and focus on your breath and really listen to how your body is working when it is put do the test by doing something physical. Does exercising lift your mood and make you happy? Do you feel calmer when you are out walking rather than sitting at home watching tv?
The next thing I want to talk about is self-body scanning. Yes, it really is a thing! One way of becoming incredibly aware of your body is to start at the top i.e your head and work your way down all the way to your toes. You can focus on how each part is feeling, do you have tension in say your arm? Is your back aching? Are your palms sweating? Do you have a tingling feeling in any part of your body or does it feel very relaxed?
Meditation is another tool you can use. I don’t mean sitting crossed-legged chanting to some idol although there is nothing wrong with that kind of meditation. I mean taking a quiet moment for yourself and reflecting, thinking, and calming yourself down so you can carry on with your day. Take a ‘time out”, find a quiet corner, and take steady deep breathes, try and clear your mind of any worries or issues that are causing you stress. Everybody deserves some “Me time”
What we all need to do to make mindfulness a useful tool is to pay attention to our feelings, taste, touch smell, sounds. A simple example is next time you take a shower ask yourself “how does the water feel on my skin?” If you notice your surroundings and how they make you feel you are on your way to becoming more in tune with your feelings and emotions.
If your mind starts to wander, and everybody’s does, simply notice where it wanders to. Maybe you could try naming the feelings, for example, if you are cross or upset you could acknowledge you are feeling angry. Notice and be aware of the emotions you are feeling or sensations in your body. You don't need to try and get rid of any feelings or thoughts.
Try to observe and accept these feelings without judgment. Choose to bring your mind back to the present moment. Be kind to yourself. Don’t judge yourself too harshly, remember that practicing mindfulness takes time and practice, nobody is an expert straight away. Set aside time for yourself when you can try and focus on being mindful, Relax and take things slowly. You don’t need to set yourself huge goals. Just small changes and exercises.
I am always here to help you on your journey to more self-awareness and mindfulness. We can work together and help you reach your goals.
Jimi D Katsis is a Bristol based consultant psychotherapist at jimikatsis.com specialising in recovery from trauma, depression, and anxiety