Holly Sawyer, PhD, MS, LPC, CAADC, NCC
As a therapist, I am constantly finding ways to evolve not only professionally, but as a human being. My evolving process is holistic – physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. Being mindful requires being present, living in the now and sitting with whatever emotion you’re experiencing. It can be based on something you perceive as negative or positive at that moment.
Not practicing mindfulness can push your mind to wander between the past and future instead of focusing on what is happening right in front of you; the present. This can trigger unproductive, negative thoughts and possibly negative behaviors.
For example, went on a job interview and left feeling like you aced it. Your mind begins to think about the future and all the good benefits the new job can bring. A couple of days goes by and you hear nothing from the hiring manager or HR. Your mind now goes to the past, replaying the interview and asking yourself “what did I do wrong?” because you really wanted “this” job, and your emotions are running high from not knowing if you got the job or not. Now, you start to retreat, ruminate over the interview, and isolate with your negative thinking without having all the facts. When you’re in a negative thinking pattern, it can be hard to be present in your life, flexible in your thinking or not controlled by your emotions.
When you find yourself in this or any related situation…
These things are definitely easier said than done because the mind can wander! What you may find helpful is venting to a nonjudgmental friend &/or instantly write your thoughts down. Every day, 3 things you are grateful for. This can also help you stay present.
For every negative, find a positive. Focusing too much on the future causes worry and staying in the past creates guilt and/or regret. None of these emotions add to your well-being although pain is a part of life. However, mental, and emotional pain can be reshaped by practicing mindfulness.
No one can change what happened yesterday, and tomorrow is not promised. Constantly going between the past and future can be draining and daunting. You deserve peace within your body, mind, and spirit.
How mindful are you? How will you practice mindfulness?