There is so much more to be said for the topic of mindfulness. One image that continues to come back to me each time I start to write about it, is that of shadow boxing. When we are in a situation in which we are not able to see or understand whatever it is we have to undertake, there is no way we can be very effective with it.
The more we understand the task we are faced with, the better we can accomplish it. That seems like it would be such an indisputable fact that it boggles my mind when it comes to issues like anxiety, depression or emotional struggles we may have.
That is not to say that we all need to obtain a PhD is psychology or biology, but it does speak clearly to emotional awareness and mindfulness. Nobody knows better how we are feeling that we do. And nothing helps us get more in touch with how we feel than learning how to zero in on the moment and experience it more fully by focusing on it more intently.
By shifting our focus from the external to the internal and then back again brings a new level of awareness and depth to the way we experience life.
How Much Time
Finding a balance is key. It doesn’t help us to dwell on our feelings or sensations for too long; in fact, it could actually become counter-productive if we do. And, conversely, it isn’t effective if we don’t spend enough time and attention to our inner feelings, because we can’t truly get in touch with what is going on unless we experience it.
A good springboard is approximately 20-30 minutes a day. And, as with developing any habit, it takes our brain 30 days to learn a new routine. Devoting more time than that is not helpful and as I mentioned, it can be counter productive. The idea is to experience sensations, not to think about them too much or to focus on them beyond the allotted time.
When something goes wrong inside our bodies, if it is not easy to detect outwardly like symptoms of a cold or flu, a physician will call for testing that delves deeper like blood work, x-rays, scans or even an MRI.
I see mindfulness as the emotional equivalent of that. And the great news is that it is much less expensive! It does, however, require a lot more courage and commitment. For most of us, it is coming face to face with fear, anxiety, rage, sadness and emptiness. These are not the types of things we look forward to experiencing and yet, becoming mindful means we are voluntarily opting to experience them.
However, by allocating a time and a place to let them come up, we become free of the fear they hold over us.
Very rarely are emotions released in a crazed rush that overwhelms or overtakes us. It is much more like time released vitamins or medication. The process is a gradual, slow and steady one. Our emotional ‘wounds’ can take days, weeks or even months to release and heal.
But if you stay devoted and committed to the practice of mindfulness, you will find that you truly hold the key to making your life better.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!