5 Simple Ways to be More Mindful with Counselling Therapies
Author: Dublin Holistic Centre
11th Nov 2013
The Dublin Holistic Centre on South William St. In Dublin 2 provides a wide range of different therapies that help cope with the stress, anxiety and even depression that can result from living and working in a busy city centre.
Practicing yoga or Pilates on a regular basis can help prevent stress and keep the mind and body relaxed. A deep relaxing massage can help unwind after a hectic day at the office. Where ongoing stress , anxiety or depression are occurring psychotherapy or counselling can be helpful.
The Mindful Approach
Mindfulness is a counselling approach originally developed from Buddhist meditative practices but taught independently of any religious aspect. It encourages people to practice active awareness of the present moment as they are experiencing without any judgement or interpretation.
It is a form of simple meditation that people can practice throughout the day, not just when they are feeling stressed or anxious. Part of the reason why mindfulness is effective is because it brings your minds focus away from unhelpful thoughts and attitudes onto the tangible real world existing around you.
The sources of our anxiety tend to be in the past, the future or simply in our imagination. They take us out of the present moment happening around us. The present is not typically the source of ongoing stress or anxiety. By focusing on what is happening in the present moment we can effectively take our minds away from unnecessary stressful thoughts.
Being Mindful of the 5 Senses
Putting mindfulness into practice can be simple. One of the easiest ways is to go through the senses one-by-one. It can also be useful to have a specific object on which to focus your attention and awareness like a flower or a piece of fruit.
Vision occupies most of our sensory perception and sometimes we can feel it overwhelms us. Often we close our eyes to try and relax, to focus on other senses but we don’t need to. We can look at something very closely, take time to notice the very subtle details of its surface.
Observing the smaller details of an object, its texture, its sheen, whether it is dull or shiny, how the colour varies across its surface, helps us to really become aware of the presence of an object. Slowing down and taking in the details we normally skim over brings us into the present moment.
We cannot help but hear and like with vision this fact can sometimes feel overwhelming. But if we perceive the sounds we hear non judgementally even sounds that would normally irritate us simply become part of the texture of the present moment.
The grinding of construction work and the gentle cadence of a lullaby are both formed from variations in the density of the air that reaches our ears. There are no “good” noises or “bad” noises. Hearing noises simply as noise allows us to perceive the present moment as it is rather than how we feel about it or in it.
If you have an object, even a small piece of paper or cloth, you can hold it up to your ear and roll it between your fingers. Listen to the small variances as the object rustles about.
This is where having a flower or piece of fruit helps in practicing mindfulness. You can hold it up to your nose and take a deep sniff to get as much detail of the odour as possible. Smell the object and focus on the different parts of the smell, its sweetness, sharpness, how long it stays in your senses, how it changes over time.
Even if you don’t have an object simply sitting in a park or open space where you can breathe in fresh air will do. Try to notice different smells that might be carried from far away like smoke and those nearby such as grass and leaves.
The tips of our fingers can pick up a lot of detail in the surfaces of objects around us but unless we stop to think about it much of that detail can pass us by. You can use anything around you, even the material of your clothes.
Take a few moments to rub the object between your fingers and sense the differences in its texture, any small bumps or ridges that you might not have normally noticed. Try to build up an image of the object just from touch.
A small piece of fruit or an edible leaf such as a mint leaf can be helpful for this but even a sip of water will do. Sometimes some that seems plain or even flavourless can be more effective because it helps us realise how much of the present moment we miss out on when we are busy worrying about the past, the future or other insubstantial things.
Hold the food or drink in your mouth for a few moments in just a small amount and see how much of the flavour you can make out.
However you choose to practice mindfulness the important thing is to be aware of the present without judging it in anyway. The present simply is.
Dublin Holistic Centre provides counselling from a number of different practitioners who use varying approaches including Mindfulness.