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.

Advertisements

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.

May’s Mindfulness Exercise

Mindfulness involves observing and accepting the things around and within us, without judgment.  In therapy, Johanna may involve mindfulness skills to build awareness of various issues and to develop coping strategies.   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:

Mindfulness is not always a quiet, passive observation.  Mindfulness can occur in conversation as well.  Today, while in conversation with a friend, family member, or co-worker, try to notice three things: 1. What did you talk about? (What was the content of the conversation?) 2. What did you notice about the other person in the conversation (verbal and non-verbal)?  What emotions did that person display?  3. What did you notice about yourself in the conversation?  How did you feel emotionally?  Write these things down and try to pay attention to these things without judging your observations as good or bad.

NOTE: This is not intended to replace therapy.  Please contact Johanna at (585)406-3012 if you are interested in individual or group therapy.

Perspectives Monthly Journal Exercise – October

Journaling can be a therapeutic exercise.  In therapy, Johanna may encourage you to journal or keep a diary in a specific way, to raise awareness of specific activities, thoughts, or feelings.  This monthly journal exercise is in no way individually prescribed, but meant to offer food for thought that may be useful for anyone.

October’s monthly journal exercise:

Wherever you are, try to write down 2-3 descriptions for each of the five senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hear).  Now turn your attention internally, and write down 2-3 descriptions for your thoughts, your emotions, and how you are feeling physically.  Try to do this without judging your observations as good or bad.  You may use this writing exercise for mindfulness work as well, since mindfulness is rooted in observation and awareness.  This is not meant to be a polished piece of writing but rather an exploration of yourself in the current moment and your current surroundings.

Perspectives Monthly Journal Exercise – September

Journaling can be a therapeutic exercise.  In therapy, Johanna may encourage you to journal or keep a diary in a specific way, to raise awareness of specific activities, thoughts, or feelings.  This monthly journal exercise is in no way individually prescribed, but meant to offer food for thought that may be useful for anyone.

September’s monthly journal exercise:

September tends to be a time of transition.  Kids go back to school, and we begin to head towards autumn.  Take five minutes to do a “free write,” where you write without stopping.  Only stop if your hand hurts or if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed emotionally.  Write about transitions in your life, and how you connect to the transition of the season from summer to autumn.  This may be through personal events in your life or through your connection to nature as it changes.  At five minutes, stop and put down your pen, wherever you are in your writing.  This is not meant to be a polished piece of writing but rather an exploration.

September’s Mindfulness Exercise

Mindfulness is something that everyone can incorporate into daily life.  Mindfulness involves observing and accepting the things around and within us, without judgment.  In therapy, Johanna may involve mindfulness skills to build awareness of various issues and to develop coping strategies.  Johanna is also running a six-week mindfulness group.  If you are interested in the next group cycle for mindfulness, please call the office.  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.

September’s Mindfulness Exercise:

Today, when you are going through your daily routine (either at the start or end of your day, or while engaging in a mundane chore such as washing dishes) I want you to bring your full attention to the task at hand.  Oftentimes we act on “autopilot” and wander away in our minds from the activities we are doing.  Today while doing a chore, try to notice every aspect of the chore.  What are you doing, how are you doing it, how do you feel physically and emotionally, what thoughts are going through your mind, and what is happening around you?  You may be surprised how many things you can notice while brushing your teeth.  Try to notice without judging as good or bad.

 

NOTE: This is not intended to replace therapy.  Please contact Johanna at (585)406-3012 if you are interested in individual or group therapy.