You might hear mindfulness in terms as the new buzz word in the counselling field. There are many definitions out there and its origins date back to earliest Buddhist history. To be mindful is to really be aware of your surroundings, and your thoughts. It is not about judgement, it is about simply what you experience.

This notion of being present has been important around the treatment of those dealing with anxiety. To be truly mindful is to be able to slow yourself down and be aware of your most concrete actions such as breathing. Slow meaningful breaths from deep in your diaphragm can help soothe your heart, mind and soul. I have found a book such as “The Mini-Retreat Solution” by Julia James to be helpful. She talks about such mindful exercises such as a ‘catwalk’ which begins with you shifting back and forth while standing almost resembling a ‘rocking a baby’ action or ….a cat getting up from their sleep. You can do this exercise while standing at work and you are noticing your breathing coming from up high in your chest or your heart pounding too fast.

I encourage my clients to prepare a ‘tool kit’ or ‘care package’ either metaphorically or actually creating one. In this they may choose to include anything that helps soothe them such as bags of tea, soothing photographs, artwork, drawing paper, music etc. This way it empowers one to use more mindfulness practices instead being focused on any unhealthy or stress inducing thoughts that are clearly not being helpful.

Seattle theorist John Gottman would suggest that soothing exercises are important if you notice that you are becoming emotionally triggered. Taken from his 4 Horsemen Model he would suggest that if your heart beat is over 100 beats per minute it would mean that you are emotionally flooded and not able to focus on the conversation or conflict you are in. At that point it is important to remove yourself from the stressful conversation and soothe yourself (mindful practices is a great place to start). This way you can actually bring your heart rate down to the typical resting heart rate of 60-80 beats / minute which can allow you to better function in the situation that you are trying to resolve.

Let me know what you think. Please feel free to email or contact me at 778-773-2465 to make an appointment at my South Surrey practice.