It can seem rather difficult to intentionally practice mindfulness, preserve peace and strive to relieve stress with all that we see happening across our country and globe right now. Unless hiding quietly under a rock the majority of humans are experiencing a time unlike any before us; one in which our emotional minds are overwhelmed and overstimulated.
Research has proven that mindfulness reduces stress and increases a sense of peace. But how, in a non-stop, demanding culture, full of alarming news stories in each direction we turn, are we to slow down, look inward and cultivate peace?
The concept of mindfulness, stemming from Marcia M Linehan, an American psychologist and creator of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), may feel like a daunting and time consuming skill to grasp. This is not necessarily the case, in fact, you can find simple, easy and quick ways to practice mindfulness.
Let’s review a skill we can take with us throughout our day to practice easy mindfulness.
S.T.O.P. is a simple acronym to recall when you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, but also easily incorporated during moments that are lighter and more calm.
S: Stop- quite literally, freeze, stopping helps you stay in control and not act without thinking.
T: Take a step back- remove yourself mindfully and physically if possible from the stressful event. Breath. Take a deep breath, or multiple until you feel in control.
O: Observe- what is going on around you and within you?
P: Proceed mindfully, ask yourself what your goal is and what actions and emotions will help you get there.
Remember, mindfulness is not about perfection, it is a practice guiding us to an improved awareness and sustainable peace in a life full of stressful events.
Be gentle and compassionate with yourself as you exercise this skill.
Welcome, my name is Julie. I received my Master’s in Counseling and Psychotherapy from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and my undergraduate degree in Social Work from St. Olaf College. Mental health is a passion of mine in which I believe all individuals deserve to find peace and harmony within themselves. I have nearly 20 years of experience working in the mental health field. The majority of my experiences have been in supporting adolescents and adults journeying through unique circumstances of grief, trauma, mood disorders, familial issues, and life transitions.
Anyone following the news is finding themselves in a place of abnormal isolation. While the world is shutting down in many regards, we remain in the constant presence of our own thoughts. Regardless of how you view the current international crisis, your life has changed compared to just a few weeks ago.