What is Mindfulness?
Our society is always on the go - we are expert multitaskers who send emails while cooking dinner and helping to finish the laundry. But in the hustle and bustle of life we lose our connection to the present moment and we miss out on what we are doing and how we are feeling. Sometimes days, weeks, and even decades pass and we find ourselves asking questions like, ‘Where was I for my children growing up? Where was I emotionally for my partner? Where was I for myself?’ This is what I call 'living life on autopilot' and it happens to many of us.
Mindfulness means paying full attention to the present moment without judgment. It means being fully awake in your life. The idea behind mindfulness is that we can be the best version of ourselves and make the most effective decisions when we are in the here and now. Mindfulness is the practice of learning to be engaged in the present moment and deeply connected to your experience.
Mindfulness is backed by decades of research and has been found effective in improving physical and overall well-being. Many individuals who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, and are better able to make deeper connections with themselves and others. Mindfulness has been found to be an important part of treatment for depression, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. Science has found numerous physical benefits of mindfulness including: helping relieve stress, lowering blood pressure, reducing chronic pain, and improving sleep.
So what does mindfulness look like in practice? Well, a big aspect of mindfulness counseling is learning how to effectively cope with stress instead of finding yourself feeling ‘stressed out.’ It is also about fully enjoying life’s wonderful moments whether that be spending time in nature or connecting with friends or family. In therapy, I will teach you various skills that will help you practice engaging in your experience. I will work with you to learn more about your stressors and when you are most likely to function on autopilot. It is through learning more yourself and these skills that will help you to direct yourself back to the present moment and live your best life.
-Jessica Aron, Psy.D.