Mindfulness involves observing and accepting the things around and within us in the present moment, without judgment. In therapy, Johanna may involve mindfulness skills to build awareness of various issues and to develop coping strategies to reach optimal wellness. The exercise below is not individualized to your needs as it may be in therapy, but is rather intended as a general exercise that you may find useful.
August’s Mindfulness Exercise:
We often wake up and jump into our day, picking up our train of thought where we left it the night before. It might be a negative train of thought; it might be one full of worries or a “to-do” list; it might be one that takes over our well-being for the rest of the day.
We can’t control what pops into our heads (if I tell you to think of a white elephant, good luck trying not to picture one!), but we can control where we go with our thoughts. This month’s mindfulness exercise is focused on our thoughts that start and end our day.
When you wake up in the morning, notice what thought firsts pops into your head. (For me, it’s usually what I’ll be eating for breakfast). Leave yourself a post-it note next to your bed with a thought you’d like to start your day with – maybe it’s a quote, or something you’re grateful for, or something you are looking forward to during the day. Notice where your thoughts go after reading the post-it, and pay attention to how this impacts the rest of your day.
At the end of the day, take another moment to notice your thoughts before you go to sleep. Consider what is lingering on your mind from the day, and what thought you’d like to end the day with (if you’re stuck, think of something small you are grateful for that occurred during the day). Consider what thought you might want to start tomorrow with before you drift into sleep.
Most of our thoughts are the same, day to day. But in practicing mindfulness about our thoughts, particularly at the beginning and end of our days, we can control the train of thought with which we start the day!
NOTE: This is not intended to replace therapy. Please contact Johanna at (585)406-3012 if you are interested in engaging in counseling for optimal wellness.