What’s The Big Deal?
When I first started down the path of becoming a mental health counselor, I noticed certain terms and phrases kept reoccurring in my classes that I grasped from an academic standpoint, but I didn’t fully understand why they were so important in the profession. One such term was ‘mindfulness.’ It is often brought up as a hugely effective treatment in the mental health field, and while I understood the concept of trying to ‘be present’ and ‘stay in the moment’, I often found myself secretly thinking, ‘why is this such a big deal? And, what does it actually even mean to be mindful?”
Between The Past And Future
A professor of mine said something that really stuck with me. He said that the two main reasons people go to counseling is for depression and anxiety; and often a combination of the two. He went on to say that if you think about it, depression comes from living in the past, and anxiety comes from living in the future. So if you are able to truly fully live in the present, you eliminate both depression and anxiety. Perhaps it was a very simple explanation, but I had never thought of it from that perspective before and I began to truly grasp the importance of mindfulness. As I continued to explore the concept, I looked back at some of the happiest times in my life. I began to wonder, was it really the vacation or event itself that was so wonderful, or was it the fact that I was truly present in those times? Even if we can never fully eliminate depression and anxiety, a practice that could reduce them would be an amazing feat, and one that is certainly worth the effort.
Practice Daily Awareness
The challenging part is that even while understanding what mindfulness is and why it’s important, the reality is that it is still much easier said than done. There are many exercises aimed to increase awareness such as grounding techniques and guided meditation which can be a start in getting us in touch with what it really feels like to be present in the moment. Even without taking the time to sit down with an exercises or meditation, daily life provides us with every opportunity to practice awareness. For instance, taking stock of our surroundings; the sights, smells, sensations that go with stepping outside every morning, or truly listening to others when they speak, are all ways of training our minds and bodies to stay in the present. Perhaps we will never fully eliminate depression and anxiety, but the little habits and small changes we make every day can make miraculous strides towards living a mindful life.
New Heights Counseling services Fort Walton, Niceville, and surrounding communities. If you’re interested in developing a mindfulness approach to your everyday lifestyle our therapists are here for you. Visit our website and book your appointment today. New Heights Counseling