“Your goal is not to battle with the mind, but to witness the mind.”– Swami Muktananda

Mindfulness and meditation are words that have become mainstream in the last decade with the emergence of yoga studios and recent research on the benefits of meditation on reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and relieving insomnia. When working with me in therapy, I often bring in meditation and the many ways this can be helpful in meeting your goals. Meditation offers a chance to deepen our own understanding of our inner and outer world, it can help diffuse our patterns of thinking, and can help us gain insights that are supportive to the therapeutic process.

There are many ways to engage with meditation and mindfulness in daily life. To name a few:

Moments of Mindfulness: Mindfulness is, simply put, the awareness of the present moment and your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. We can actively work to calm and ground ourselves in moments of distress through taking a moment to check in and see what’s happening in the body and mind. This, in combination with taking a few slow breaths, can help to calm someone’s over-active nervous system. It can also bring to attention the need to move and express oneself physically when you notice your body caught in a low energy state.

Sound baths: A positive experience of deep relaxation and meditation through listening to sounds being played by Tibetan singing bowls, rain makers, tuning forks, and so on. It is formed around the idea that sound is energy in motion and that we can connect more deeply to a state of relaxation through the simple act of listening deeply, which ignites in our brain alpha, theta, and delta brain waves, calming our nervous system. Check out Healing Vibrations for a Seattle-based company for YouTube videos and experience sound baths.

Petting an Animal: Most people have pets in their life and if you don’t have a pet, you know someone who does. There are many ways that I bring animals into meditation, but one powerful and simple way to engage with daily meditation and mindfulness is to interact with your pet or someone else’s. As you connect with an animal through physical touch, you release Oxytocin in the brain, which is the neurochemical that promotes safety, trust, bonding, and love. This chemical triggers the brain’s natural response to slow down and to calm down, creating a sense of safety. Alternatively, it does the same for your pet, which creates a stronger bond between animal and human. What’s not to love about that?

Exercise and Physical Activity: Exercise can be a form of meditation if you approach the activity with mindful awareness. This can look like paying specific attention to movement during weightlifting or running, the physical sensations that arise, your emotions and thoughts, and your breathing. It can also look like slowing down during a hike to notice the little things; moss growing on the trees, the color of the leaves around you, the location of where birdsong is coming from, or the feeling of a stream trickling over your bare feet.

Any moment can be an opportunity for mindful awareness.

Aspen Clinical Counseling, LLC
Alyssa Overton MA, LMHC, SUDPT
Phone: 425-484-9789
Address: 3429 Fremont Ave N, Suite 310, Seattle, WA 98103

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