Why is mindfulness helpful?
I often find that people come to me with painful emotions that they have suppressed or that spill out in unhelpful or destructive ways of behaving.
I have noticed the benefits of mindfulness personally and seen others benefit enormously from using mindfulness as a tool to help them with their emotions. Often we can feel swamped and overwhelmed by painful emotions…. Or they hurt so much that we work really hard at holding them at arms length. I find that mindfulness can be a container so that when we feel something painful we are able to hold ourselves without being overwhelmed by the painful emotions. In a way our sense of ourselves is bigger than the emotions, so we can hold the emotions.
How to practice mindfulness?
The more we practice meditation the more we will find that, as a by product, we are more present, more mindful, in our daily lives. Then we reap the benefits of mindfulness. Meditation can be silent sitting or more active practices such as yoga, tai chi, and dance. In fact anything that helps us to be more present in the here and now and in our bodies can be considered a meditation. For more tips on mindfulness practices, have a look here and here.
It can also be really helpful simply to check in with yourself several times a day… to become more aware of your body by feeling your breath or feeling your feet on the ground, and then simply asking yourself “how am I doing”. However you find yourself, take a few conscious breaths and see what difference that makes.
I’m not suggesting this is a magic wand that will instantly transform your life, but I do find that with a little support from mindfulness based counselling or a meditation class people can quite quickly see results. People often report feeling more grounded, more centred and less likely to be triggered by challenging events. I worked with one particularly receptive person who was having severe panic attacks several times a day, due to some serious childhood trauma. In four sessions working with mindfulness, he stopped having panic attacks! He had also been having terrible nightmares and after eight sessions this reduced dramatically. So working somatically and with mindfulness can have very powerful results. The benefits of mindfulness can effect your whole life!