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Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we’re doing. One important aspect of mindfulness is to not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us or in our mind. It is important to just observe without judgment. Mindfulness is a quality that we can all tap into,  we simply just need to learn to access it. The following prompts are designed to help you begin becoming more mindful in just 15 days!!

1. Write a Gratitude Letter

This is one of my favorite personal practices. Write this letter as if you are writing it to a friend. Write everything you are grateful for as well as everything you are grateful to be working towards. After you do this, read it aloud. I like to do this practice daily. 

2. Meditate

Meditation is a difficult one and can be difficult for people, often we believe that the brain should turn off during meditation. However it is quite the opposite, often our mind will start racing, the buddhist call this monkey brain. It is important during this practice to notice whatever may be coming up for you without engaging or giving the thought energy. After bringing your attention back to your breathing. If this practice is hard for you start small. Start with five minutes and then slowly increase the more you practice. There are also a ton of videos online and apps that can help support you through your meditation.

3. Draw Your Backyard

Take this time to really connect with yourself and your garden. Notice the smells, what you feel in your body. Maybe how your skin feels in the sun etc. Mindfulness is all about giving ourselves a moment to pause and appreciate everything, the good, bad and everything in between. Allow yourself to express without judgment.(If you don’t have a yard pick somewhere in nature) 

4. Mindful Eating

Really make your food an experience here. Just like meditation, focus on every sensation. How does it taste, how does it feel etc. Be present. Thank yourself for the nutrition!

5. Some Areas of My Life I’d Like to Improve Are:

Here is a simple Practice, set your intentions. Setting goals will help us be more mindful of actually making them happen. If you want to add an artistic flare to this exercise, turn this list into a vision board. This is a super fun activity for date night, girls night or just a little self care for you!

6. Declutter Your Space

When decluttering the mind it can be helpful to have our living spaces match this energy. Get rid of all the things making energy shifts in your space, I promise you don’t need those pants that are too small on you that you keep as motivation.  Focus on the now.

7. Some Thoughts and Beliefs I Repeat In My Head Constantly Are:

Good and bad, this is about bringing attention to our critical voice. Be honest with yourself. Remember NO JUDGMENT. 

8. In What Ways Do I Impact Others Around Me Each Day?

Notice your value: if this is hard examine that. Start small if you can only think of two things that’s okay. Continue to revisit this exercise as you move through the practice. I like to make positivity jars for myself where I put little notes of wins I had over a whole year and read them at the end of the year. Sometimes we let the good we do go unnoticed, this time is for you.

9. Create Your Own Mandala

Mandala’s have been known for their meditative properties, they have been recognized by psychologists like Carl Jung for their therapeutic benefits. While creating your mandala again notice what maybe coming up for you.

10. What Are My Biggest Fears and How Do They Hold Me Back?

Again, full transparency here. Want to go even deeper with this exercise? Follow this question up with why do I have these fears? Where did they start?

11. How Can I Better Take Care of Myself?

SELF CARE!!! Do I even need to explain? Not only should you write what you can do for yourself here but also examine what you can do in order to start integrating these things into your day to day.

12. Dance Around in the Mirror

Spirituality states that our hips hold a ton of our trauma. Moving these parts of yourself will help you release some of those big feelings. Pay attention to whatever comes up for you. You may feel awkward or may even feel uncomfortable with seeing your body moving through the mirror. Pay attention to this, bring awareness to it. Meet it with the question why as well as some compassion.

13. Take a Rest Day

Everything needs rest, even you! It is scientifically proven that we are more productive when we rest, this helps us avoid burnout. There is an awesome book called “How to Do Nothing” by Jenny Odell that further explains this.

14. Do Some Yoga

Yoga is a wonderful practice for mindfulness, if its not your thing though do something else to get that blood pumping.This can be walking around your neighborhood or HIIT, whatever makes you feel good! Examine how your body feels before and after your workout.

15. I Feel Fulfilled and Truly Alive When:

Cultivating happiness. Abraham Hicks has a ton of videos speaking of the importance of following our happiness. Happiness is our driving force so lets bring our awareness to it.

Jillian Martino, CAT-LP

There are many differences between experiencing trauma as an adult and experiencing trauma as a child. One difference is that experiencing a stressful event as a child can cause an everlasting impact throughout adulthood. This everlasting impact is what affects the ‘inner child’ when those children become adults. The inner child is something that exists within everyone. It is the playful, fun, cheerful, hurt, as well as saddened child we once were. Any traumatic or stressful event that was experienced as a child is remembered by the body, and that is how it continues to affect us into adulthood.

“A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him.” – Pablo Neruda

The obstacle to overcome when attempting to heal the inner child is being able to understand, connect with, and accept the child within. Inner child wounds can be because of abuse that was experienced as a child, neglect, distressful events, loss of a loved one at an early age, as well as many more. Tending to the inner child can allow for growth and prosperity for later life.

Some Signs That Your Inner Child May Be Impacting You:

Taking steps towards healing the inner child can be done with seeking therapy, practicing mindfulness skills, as well as increasing one’s own level of self-awareness. Navigating inner child work with a therapist can allow you to work through that trauma, distressing memories and emotions. Working through these events can be distressing in and of itself, though having someone who is trained to support people with these types of issues can allow for many doors to open. The goal of inner child work within therapy is to explore these past events, with an emphasis on early memories to learn skills on how to regulate the self. 

Some Inner Child Mindfulness Practice:

Conor Ohland, MHC-LP

Mindfulness practices have gained more popularity in recent years. When we think of mindfulness a lot of us may think of yoga or deep meditations in a forest somewhere. These are both wonderful practices but may not resonate with everyone. Mindfulness is the practice of doing one thing, with your full attention, at a time. When we allow ourselves to focus solely on one thing and permit ourselves to be in the present moment, we give ourselves the opportunity to be fully engaged in the here and now moment rather than having one foot in the present and the other in whatever our mind is thinking about. This can sound challenging at first but with effort, we can give ourselves the tools to enhance our concentration, decrease our stress and fully attune to what is going on around us. 

Where to Start?

A great way to begin our foundational for mindfulness is to start by focusing on one thing, any one thing. In reality, this can be difficult since we are socially programmed to maximize every second by multitasking as much as possible. This means pursuing mindfulness can be challenging. It’s okay. There are no expectations and just like anything, it will take time, dedication and practice to hone your skills. To prevent from becoming frustrated or judging ourselves for struggling at first, we can encourage ourselves to show ourselves compassion and gratitude for trying something new to improve our well-being. If we begin a mindfulness practice, anything from driving our car to focusing on our breath, and we notice our mind is wandering elsewhere, we can gently recognize it and redirect ourselves back to the focus of our practice in the present moment. We can do this each time we have noticed our mind has wandered and by redirecting it each time, we are reminding ourselves that we have control over our thoughts and are capable of overcoming distractions. 

Each person is different so naturally, how we start may be different as well. One person may pick mindfully listening to a song while another may choose to mindfully drink a beverage while another may decide to mindfully focus on their breath. There is no wrong way to practice mindfulness as long as you are staying engaged in the present moment and bringing yourself back whenever you notice your mind has wandered. 

Benefits of Mindfulness

Staying present can have wonderful benefits, it can reduce our stress, enhance our concentration and improve our sleep. This is because when we allow our minds to buzz about from topic to topic, stressor to stressor we are actually putting ourselves through that stress twice. If something is truly going to be challenging, then it will be challenging whether we perseverate about it or not so when we focus on how difficult it will be we are ensuring we will struggle both times. By honing our mindfulness skills, we allow ourselves to be engaged and focused in the present and give ourselves room to enjoy what is in front of us. Mindfulness can be a wonderful tool for those struggling with anxiety, emotional dysregulation due to trauma reminders, relationship stressors and a myriad of other challenges. If you feel this is something you are struggling, please reach out so we can enhance your mindfulness practice together.

By Marissa Ahern, LMSW

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Take the first step in healing.

Remember: You are not your mental illness! Start your therapy journey today by requesting a free consultation to connect with the therapist who best fits you.
Request a Consult
Subscribe for our Good Vibes Newsletter to join our community and stay up-to-date on our local events, workshops and groups!
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© 2023 Suffolk Family Therapy. Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW, PC License and State: 087409 New York.
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