February 24, 2017
Andrea Schklar, AM, MSW, is a primary counselor. See her recommendations for mindfulness resources below.
Mindfulness can be an important part of maintaining our mental health. It is an integral part of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), but can be a useful practice for anyone. Mindfulness is a way to keep ourselves grounded in the present moment without dwelling in the past or worrying about the future.
Many mindfulness exercises involve the body as well as the mind, incorporating our posture, intentional movements, or breathing to help refocus our mind on the present.
I like the Breathe app. http://www.stopbreathethink.org.This app provides free and paid guided meditations of different types to easily introduce mindfulness practice.
The Miracle of Mindfulness is a book by Thich Nhat Hanh that teaches ways mindfulness can be used in everyday life. If I could learn to relax while doing the dishes, this book's a winner. It's not an app or a website; it's better. It's also available as an audiobook.
Here is an adaptation of a short breathing exercise from the book that you can try:
- Breathe a few breaths naturally, bringing your attention to all aspects of the process.
- Relax with the breath. Enjoy the breath.
- Breathe in and think to yourself, "I am breathing in."
- Notice how the in-breath slows and then stops. Allow it to happen naturally, but notice it.
- Breathe out and count, "one."
- Notice how the out-breath slows and then stops.
- Breathe in and think, "I am breathing in."
- Breathe out and count "two."
- Continue these breath cycles until you count to ten. Keep your mind on the breath as much as you can. If your mind wanders, simply bring it back to the breath and continue.