Mindfulness and meditation are two incredibly useful skills you will learn at New Roads Behavioral Health during your visit.
They are even better when used together!
Mindfulness and meditation are also great skills to embrace once you are out of treatment- or even as a family member of someone who is in treatment!
Why not learn now how to practice mindfulness meditation, and use it in your daily life?
So how do you do it…
What is Mindfulness?
First things first- what on earth is mindfulness anyways and what does it really mean to be mindful?
Well according to Google:
- the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
- a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
I would say Google nailed that one. Especially that last part.
To be mindful, simply means to make an effort to acknowledge what you are feeling and thinking. Working to accept those emotions before something irrational can happen.
For example, perhaps a veteran who struggles with PTSD may react to triggers with anger and aggression. Or a patient with anxiety may have feelings of panic surfacing.
Learning mindfulness allows these patients to acknowledge those feeling when they arise, and can now accept and handle these feelings appropriately before reacting impulsively as they once had.
What is Meditation?
Now that we have learned what mindfulness entails, let’s chat about meditation.
Think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.
- think deeply or carefully about (something).
Of course, most people already have a general idea on what meditation is.
However, most of us associate meditation with humming and monks, don’t we?
While that is an effective form of meditation, meditation can be used even if you aren’t a monk! And every person who meditates has their own way of doing so.
Meditation can be performed in a quiet room, or a room with music playing. It can be done standing, laying, or sitting. It can be done with your eyes closed, or your eyes open.
Everyone has their own way of practicing meditation.
I for example, have several different ways. Some days I feel like sitting on the floor in silence. Sometimes I meditate in my bed before sleep while Netflix hums in the background.
The point is- it’s completely your choice (as long as it’s done, right?).
The most essential part of meditation is to relax, and focus on your breathing. Deep breaths, in and out, over and over.
How do you combine the two?
Combining the two is quite simple actually. Once you have chosen your method of meditation, you can now integrate mindfulness.
Most people are under the notion that when you meditate, you aren’t allowed to think about anything. You are supposed to focus on NOT thinking.
Does that make any sense to you?
Actually, meditation is the best time to think. That’s what it should be used for!
This is where mindfulness comes into play. Mindfulness and meditation are two peas in a pod.
Mindfulness meditation means choosing your form of meditation, and instead of pushing your thoughts away, or focusing on NOT thinking- let your thoughts flow.
Lets your thoughts, ideas, feeling, and emotions flow freely, while focusing on your breathing. But be mindful. While these thoughts are allowed to come and go, you will use mindfulness to control your response to these.
For example, upon meditating, you stumble upon an old memory from the past- one that has a nasty habit of presenting negative feelings and anxiety when you think about it. There would be no better time to use mindfulness.
If you find that memory flowing into your thoughts, continue to let your thoughts flow- without judgement.
Do not judge yourself in this memory. Do not judge someone else in this memory.
Re-shape your feelings towards that memory, focus on accepting what happened in that memory.
Try to find another outlook on it. If that seems impossible to do, simply change lanes- try to think of a happy memory instead.
Eventually, you want to conquer that memory and conquer that feeling that accompanies it. You do this will continual mindfulness meditation of course!
When should you practice mindfulness meditation?
There are countless situation and times that are great for practicing mindfulness meditation.
I try to practice nightly- my personal goals are to take at least ten minutes out of my nightly routine to include mindfulness meditation. It really is quite calming, and before bed is never a bad time.
However, mindfulness meditation can be implemented whenever, and wherever! Morning, afternoon, night.
After work, before work. After a stressful situation in which you need to calm yourself.
The veteran who struggles with his PTSD triggers can practice mindfulness while he comes into contact with this trigger, and then choose to meditate afterwards to calm himself and accept the situation internally.
Mindfulness meditation can be practiced whenever and wherever it is needed. It is a therapeutic tool that anyone can use, anytime.
Include Earthing in your practice
Earthing? What is this “earthing” you speak of?
Well if you are familiar with the term “grounding” or earthing” it simply means:
Earthing (also known as grounding) refers to contact with the Earth’s surface electrons by walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems, some of them patented, that transfer the energy from the ground into the body.
Earthing is an ancient practice, that allows your body to replenish it’s natural energy.
You can combine this with your mindfulness meditation very easily. Maybe this means sitting in your backyard to practice. You could sit in a lawn chair, with your bare feet embedded in the grass. Or try sitting cross legged right on the grass!
You can stand there to meditation with your feet to the earth.
If you’re like me- I don’t have a backyard or a front yard… sad huh!
I practice my mindfulness meditations on my floor in my room- I never had the opportunity to practice earthing at the same time.
That was, until I discovered the Earthing Mat.
What in the world is an Earthing Mat you ask?
An Earthing Mat is a mat that plugs into your electrical outlet, and pulls the earth’s energy into the mat, so that you can conveniently practice earthing in your house! It’s pretty awesome, you can find it on Amazon.
Now every time I go to mindfully meditate, I pull my mat out, plug it in, and then practice.
However, while this is a great way to include Earthing to your practice, I do suggest that if you are lucky enough to have a yard, or access to a beach, you take the time to practice your Earthing there too.
There is nothing quite like the actual earth, to practice your earthing.
What have we learned?
Now that you have learned what mindfulness meditation is, as well as Earthing, perhaps now you can integrate this into your daily routine.
New Roads Behavioral Health utilizes this practice largely in our treatment process. But it’s not a bad idea to practice in your everyday life either!
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