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What exactly is Mindfulness,and why do I keep hearing about it??

Hi, my name is Tobi, and I recently did my counselling therapy internship at Laura Gatien and Associates. During my time internship I really fell in love with the practice of Mindfulness and the impact it can have in someones day to day life.

~ Thank You

Jon Kabat-Zinn is considered to be the grandfather of the North American mindfulness movement, which is rooted in rich Buddhist traditions. He defines mindfulness as: “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.” Through mindful practice, we learn to focus on the breath and let life’s challenges and struggles come and go… as they do. This can be achieved through meditation but does not have to be in a formal meditative or yoga setting. Basically, you can do it anywhere, anytime. As we learn this skill, we are able to accept what is in front of us for what it is, which decreases resistance, and, therefore, suffering.

Research tells us that practicing mindfulness for just a few minutes a day can have positive mental and physical health benefits, such as improving one’s quality of sleep, being more compassionate and empathetic, reducing stress and anxiety, and helping to manage pain… to name a few. For students, it can even increase grades and decrease stress associated with tests and school.

But, like anything, it takes knowledge and practice. If you like to read, a great place to start is to check out Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book called Full Catastrophe Living. If you prefer to learn from a teacher, his 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (or versions of it) are taught now in New Brunswick through:

The Iris Center in Fredericton, with online options offered as well as in-person.

Nicole Leblanc MSW in the Saint John and surrounding area.

Or online through Palouse Mindfulness

You could just try some of these simple mindful exercises:

Stop and pay attention to your life as it unfolds. Notice and pay attention to your senses — touch, sound, sight, smell and taste. For example, when you eat your favourite food or hear a bird sing, take the time to absorb it fully and truly enjoy it.

Live in the present moment without being pulled to thoughts of the past or worries about the future. Intentionally bring an open and accepting attention to life’s events as they unfold. This will help you to find joy in everyday life’s simple pleasures.

Practice acceptance and start with yourself. Talk to yourself and treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend or loved one.

Focus on your breath. When you have negative or troublesome thoughts, take a deep breath and close your eyes if that is comfortable for you. If you need some guidance, try this: Watch this video Guide. Try an experiment… rate how you feel, before and after the video, out of ten. Do you notice any changes?

There are also more structured mindfulness exercises and practices. Give this one a try:

Body scan meditation. Lie on your back or find a comfortable place to sit. Focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body, starting from the top of your head all the way to the tips of your toes. Be aware of any sensations, emotions or thoughts associated with each part of your body. Notice how they come and they go.

Mindful, How to Mediate also provides some great advice and additional videos.

Please book an appointment below if you would like to learn more about mindfulness Love, Tobi

~ Laura, Clinical Therapist

We're here if you want to talk :) Take the first step and call us for an appointment ...(506) 651-1239

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