September’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.

September’s Mindfulness Exercise:

Let’s go back to the basics this month and focus on mindful awareness of our thoughts. Take a couple nice even breaths in and out. Engage in a gentle rolling of your shoulders, stretching of your fingers or gentle twist in the spine to bring awareness to your physical self. Check in with what level of stress you are holding today.

Without judging or trying to change them, begin to notice your thoughts as they pop into your head. You can think of them as clouds up in the sky, hanging out or drifting past. If you begin to drift with them, return to your breathing.

To distance yourself from your thoughts (in order to better observe them), visualize that you are standing on a grassy hill, looking up at the sky. Picture that the clouds you see above are your thoughts. Notice them as they swirl, drift past, or even develop into storm clouds.

Return to your breathing and write down anything you noticed or would like to process further regarding your thoughts. If you are an active client, feel free to bring your observances to your next counseling session.

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August’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.

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.

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.

September’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.   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:

As we head towards another changing season, take a moment to be aware of what the transition from summer to fall means for you.  Mindfulness is the nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, so try to do this without judging the thoughts or feelings that come up for you.  What has this time of year been like for you in the past? What do you hope it will be like this year? As you notice changes in the outside world, what do you notice about yourself? Take a moment to reflect and write down your thoughts, without judging them 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.

August’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.   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:

Mindfulness is the nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment.  This month, we are going to observe our self-talk without judgment.  Take 5 minutes to spend in a quiet space by yourself.  Begin by breathing and start to notice your thoughts.  What are you telling yourself? How do you talk to yourself? Without judging your thoughts as good or bad, simply allow yourself to notice them.  If you’d like, you can also write them down. How do you feel emotionally as you do this exercise? How do you feel physically?  If you can, take this awareness into your day and pay attention to the way you talk to yourself, even after your 5 minutes are up.

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

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.   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:

Mindfulness is the nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment. Today we will focus on metaphors.  Every day, we use metaphors to expand our understanding of the world, describe our experience, and connect with others.  Today, pay attention to how you use metaphors.  Write one or two down throughout the day, and pay attention to the thoughts and feelings you have about this metaphor.  If you’d like, write down what this metaphor means in your life.  It could be a journey, or something as simple as “the elephant in the room.”  Try to observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them 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 – June

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.

June’s monthly journal exercise:

Write a letter to your past self.  What have you learned from yourself?  What would you want to share with your past self that you know now?  Be kind to your past self. This does not need to be a polished piece of writing, but rather a brief exercise to get yourself writing and thinking about yourself in a new way.