November’s Mindfulness Exercise

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.

November’s Mindfulness Exercise:

 

The holidays are coming and with them, many different stressors. Holiday stress can include worries about finances, so for this month’s mindfulness exercise we will be noticing financial stress.

Begin with your breathing, keeping in mind that as long as you are breathing, there is more that’s right with you than wrong with you. Check in with how you are feeling physically and emotionally, and what thoughts are on your mind.

Draw your thoughts to the topic of finances. Without diving into any specific thoughts, notice your responses. What thoughts come to mind? What is your level of distress, 1 through 10 (if 10 is panic)? What emotions come up for you? How do you feel physically at this moment?

Without judging your responses or trying to change them, continue to observe the various aspects of your conscious awareness. If you notice your stress level rise, return to your breathing.

Continue to engage in this exercise for a few minutes, and then take a moment to write down the responses you noticed mentally, physically, and emotionally. Reflect on these responses. Is there a way you would like to respond differently, or a strategy you’d like to employ to better manage stress?

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.

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October’s Mindfulness Exercise

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.

October’s Mindfulness Exercise:

This month we are going to continue to explore the basics of mindfulness, with a focus on emotions. To begin, take a nice even breath in and out. Notice the feeling of expansion as you inhale, and release as you exhale. Pay attention to how your physical body is feeling today, as well as the pace of your thoughts as you begin this exercise.

Try to notice sensations, thoughts, and feelings without judgment and without attempting to change them.

As you breathe, pay attention to what emotions draw your attention. Do you feel joy, fear, sadness, contentment, anger, guilt? Are you irritable or stressed out? Notice what emotions bubble to the surface, and notice what your response is. Do you try to push the emotion away, or do you engage in it? Notice if there is a physical space in the body where the emotion resides. What emotions are more comfortable for you to experience?

Continue to breathe and notice what you experience. After engaging in this active accepting awareness for a few more minutes, gently wiggle your fingers and toes, bringing movement back into the body.

We develop patterns in how we respond to various things, including our own emotions. It can be helpful to increase our awareness of our emotional responses and what we do with those responses.

 

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.

March’s Mindfulness Exercise

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.

March’s Mindfulness Exercise:

 

When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you are aware of? When you go to bed at night, what is the last thing you are aware of? For the next week, try to increase your awareness at either the start or end of your day. Notice your breathing, and check in with how you are feeling physically, emotionally, and what thoughts cross your mind.

Are there habits you’d like to change at either the start or end of your day? This mindfulness practice could be the initial building block to making change!

This is intended to increase your awareness and acceptance of your own thoughts and feelings at the start or end of your day. If you are a current client in therapy, please feel free to bring in your observations to your next appointment!

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.

January’s Mindfulness Exercise

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.

January’s Mindfulness Exercise:

It’s a new year! This month we will be mindful of our hopes and fears for the coming year. Take out a sheet of paper and number it 1-10 on one half of the paper, and 1-10 again on the other half of the paper. Writer down ten fears you have for 2017, and ten hopes.

Then set the paper aside and begin taking slow, deep breaths in and out. What did you feel as you were writing down the fears? The hopes? What are you feeling now? Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings (physical and emotional). Try not to judge or change them. If you find yourself becoming anxious or distracted by thoughts, return to your breathing.

 

This is intended to increase your awareness and acceptance of your own thoughts and feelings as you consider the coming year. If you are a current client in therapy, please feel free to bring in your hopes and fears for exploration at your next appointment!

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.

December’s Mindfulness Exercise

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.

December’s Mindfulness Exercise:

This month’s mindfulness exercise involves a bit of reflection. Take out whatever calendar you use for planning purposes – it may be on your phone, email, or a paper planner. Look through each month of the past year and for each month, write down one word that comes to mind. The word could be related to a feeling (“happiness,” “frustration”); an event (“birthday”); or anything else that comes to mind.

Then take a moment to look through your list of words. Breathe slowly and deeply as you reflect on the past year. What thoughts and feelings do you notice? Are you holding tension physically, and if so, where? Try to have awareness of these things without judging them or changing them.

 

This is intended to increase your awareness and acceptance of your own thoughts and feelings as you reflect on the end of 2016.

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.

October’s Mindfulness Exercise

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.

October’s Mindfulness Exercise:

This month’s exercise focuses on the end of the work day. At the end of each workday for the next week, practice taking five deep breaths and checking in with yourself using the following questions:

What level of distress am I feeling (1 – 10, with 10 being the most intense)?

What emotions am I holding?

What am I feeling physically?

What thoughts are lingering from today?

Try to notice each of these things without judgment. Take a moment to sit with these observations without changing them before walking out the door. At the end of the week, notice if (and how) this has impacted your daily experience at work and at home.

This is intended to increase your awareness and acceptance of your own thoughts and feelings. You may also notice that this helps with the transition time between work and home.

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.

Using Counseling to Build an Epidemic of Connection

In her latest Huffington Post blog, Johanna writes about how we can use counseling to help minimize the epidemic of loneliness, addressing issues of shame and isolation by challenging them with acceptance. She writes about hope for a future epidemic of connection, beginning in how we communicate with those around us.

To learn more about this or to set up your first counseling appointment, email Johanna at jbondperspectives@gmail.com or call (585)406-3012.