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:

The holidays are here. This can mean more family gatherings, parties, and other get-togethers outside the norm of our usual day-to-day. It also can mean more stress.

With stress and social interactions in mind, this month’s mindfulness exercise is focused on interpersonal interactions.

Over the course of the next week, pick several different social situations (such as at a party, at home, or at work) to try the following exercise:

In conversation, notice how your emotions fluctuate. Throughout the course of a conversation, check in with yourself. Beginning with the very first “hello,” notice what you are feeling emotionally and your overall level of distress. Before you respond to the other person (or people) in the conversation, wait for one breath – or even a half a breath – to notice what you are experiencing emotionally. When the conversation is ending, take a few deep breaths to notice what you are feeling and your overall level of distress.

How do your emotions fluctuate in conversation? Does this change based on the context, the time of day, or the person with whom you are talking?

Notice what you experience and your overall observances. If you are an active client, please feel free to share your experience of this exercise in your next session.

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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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.

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.

July’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.

July’s Mindfulness Exercise:

 

Take a moment to consider the following situation.

Your phone buzzes. You can’t see the screen, but you hear the buzz.

What is your response to this? How do you feel physically? What is your level of distress? What thoughts are popping into your head?

Take a breath in and out. Notice the expansion as you breathe in, and the release as you exhale.

We are so connected to our phones, and to technology. When your phone buzzes, what comes to mind? Do you feel a pull to instantly check it? Are you happy with the habits you have developed around texting, social media, emails, and phone calls?

For this month’s mindfulness exercise, try to notice what comes up physically and emotionally when you use technology, in particular when you use your phone. If you find yourself reacting before you are aware that you are even doing so, practice taking one deep breath before engaging with the technology to notice your habits.

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.

May’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.

May’s Mindfulness Exercise:

 

This month, we return to the body and physical awareness for our mindfulness exercise. As you begin to bring awareness to your breath, raise both hands so the palms face each other, about a foot apart. Slowly bring the hands closer to each other until they are nearly touching; notice if you become aware of any feeling of heat between the hands. On your next inhale, gently press the fingertips together and then as you exhale, release them. On your next inhale, gently press the whole hand together and then release. Repeat this several times and then let your hands rest gently on your legs or the arms of a chair.

What did you notice physically as you did this? How do your hands feel afterwards? Notice what thoughts and emotions you are experiencing in this moment, as well as the physical feeling in your hands.

This is intended to increase your awareness and acceptance of your own thoughts and feelings as you engage in a brief exercise using your hands and palms. 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.

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.