stress anxiety mindfulness depression relaxation miami
Have you ever missed an exit on a highway?
Have you ever looked for your glasses but found yourself wearing them?
Have you ever thought you had lost your keys and realized they were in your pocket?
These experiences may have happened because you were preoccupied with something else, and you overlooked the task.
Are you aware of your surroundings when you wake up in the morning? Too often, we are on autopilot without realizing it. We brush our teeth, do the dishes, take a shower, and drive on autopilot. Frequently our mind travels to the past, ruminating about “would haves” and “could haves” or to the future, anticipating what might happen.
But little do you know that the present is where we create the future.
Being present allows us to cherish beautiful moments with our loved ones, hear our child’s laughter, taste flavorful food, feel the breeze in the air, and smell the scent of flowers. So what have you missed out on by “not” staying in the here-and-now?
Being present is a helpful tool to address stress, insomnia, lack of sleep, feeling tired, poor concentration, anxiety, panic disorder, and depressive symptoms.
Imagine an “observer” inside of you. This observer pays attention to feelings and sensations that come into contact with your senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
Your inner observer does not process feelings and sensations or follow any thoughts. Therefore, the observer will remain unshaken while feelings and sensations come and go.
Being present can be achieved by focusing on breathing exercises. Breathing is the essence of life and is frequently overlooked. Become aware of your breath, rhythm, pace, and length without trying to control it. Let it be.
Being present does not necessarily mean that you have to sit crossed-legged in a dark room to meditate. Conscious breathing can be done anywhere in any situation as a grounding technique to help you become aware of your surroundings and return to the here-and-now.
Once your inner observer is activated, you could try other helpful exercises to increase your awareness and take advantage of the mentioned benefits.
Try these exercises and share your experiences on our social media!
Exercise for Adults:
Mindful Shower: Set your intention to be aware of present moments and let go of trains of thoughts and feelings. Activate your Observer. Take a few deep breaths before you turn on a showerhead. Become aware of your body movements, actions, ideas, and sensations.
Observe the sound of the water, the temperature, water drops on your skin, the smell of your bath products, and the air around you. Observe your experience. Next time you are in a shower, try this awareness exercise to cleanse your mind. Observe. Acknowledge. Detach.
Exercise for Children:
Mindful Treats: Ask your children to practice this mindfulness exercise before they have ice cream. Ask them to set their intention to be aware of this luscious treat – its textures, taste, smell, and temperature.
Ask them to take a few deep breaths before handing them ice cream. What do they feel when they touch the ice cream cone/ cup?
Ask them to be mindful of their movements when they put the ice cream in their mouths and eat it. How does it feel inside of your mouth? What is the sensation in your mouth? In the beginning, with children, we could ask these questions to help them become aware of their senses to increase self-awareness.
Tips: Beginners should try to do things in slow motion to allow their “observer” to catch up with their thoughts and movements. Rookie observers take time, but soon enough, you will be able to be mindful at any given pace!