Life has been beyond challenging for most of us the last couple of years as we’ve dealt with a global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Everywhere we look from social media, to the news, to just outside our front door there are tragedies, stressors and uncertainties that abound. Needless to say, these events can trigger some pretty strong emotions in us.
We never want to deny our emotions. Feeling them is how we process the events of our lives. But there comes the point where we need to figure out a way to be present in the moment, in the here and now and get our of our heads with all the worries and what-ifs. One of the most effective ways to do this is through mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness & How Can It Help?
Mindfulness is a simple, non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. It is a powerful way to connect with our bodies and emotions, but in a higher state of awareness.
Mindfulness helps us regulate our emotions by putting us in a calm and relaxed state of presence. From here we can have a more grounded and emotionally steady experience of the events in our lives.
Second, when practiced regularly, mindfulness can help us develop skills that promote emotional maturity and self-regulation. These skills include self-awareness and attentional control.
And finally, mindfulness can increase the time between trigger and response. In this way, mindfulness acts a bit like an advanced warning system, alerting us to a potential ugly scene, giving us time to engage in emotional self-monitoring. This gives us the opportunity to choose our emotional response very, very carefully.
Mindfulness Impacts Your Body Too
Research has found that mindfulness could play a role in fighting cancer and other diseases that call upon immune cells. Other studies have found increases in interleukin-10 in colitis patients who took a mindfulness meditation course compared to a mind-body educational program, which is especially among patients whose colitis had flared up. Other research has found effects on markers of inflammation in the body (C-reactive protein) and that people with rheumatoid arthritis have reduced levels after taking an mindfulness based stress reduction course versus being on a waitlist for the course.
Getting Started with Mindfulness
There are many online resources for getting started with a mindfulness meditation practice.
A few of my favourites are
You can also take a walk, eat a meal or have a shower while engaging your senses and intentionally being tuned into what is happening in the present moment.
If you are interested in working privately with someone on regulating your emotions, please reach out to me. I use mindfulness in my practice with clients and would be happy to help you learn to integrate this practice into your life.