The month of May is dedicated to raising awareness and reducing the sigma surrounding mental and behavioral health issues. Per the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five American’s live with a mental health condition and it is thought that many more suffer silently and do not seek treatment.
These conditions include any mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder such as:
- Mood disorders, including bipolar disorder
- Personality disorders
- Psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia
- Eating disorders
- Substance -use disorders
One popular tool to help manage these common mental health disorders is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique you can learn to be fully present in the moment without judgement and can help manage thoughts, feelings and your overall mental health. Psychologists and mental health professionals recommend mindfulness to help heal and make mental health struggles more manageable. Research shows it creates an open and accepting attitude and teaches you how to manage emotions in a way that positively changes behavior. When you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, you are less likely to be overwhelmed by them and are in a better position to deal with them.
While Mindfulness does take practice, you do not have to be an expert in yoga or meditation to experience its benefits. Patients can start by becoming more aware of what’s happening in the present moment and work to understand thought patterns. By stepping out of your mind and observing these patterns, you can notice earlier when you’re drifting towards a mental health problem.
The goal is to be able to easily identify stress, anxiety, or depression signals instead of allowing them to build and become less manageable. To achieve this level of awareness, some changes to your daily routine may be necessary or you may need to adopt new practices. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Set aside regular time to practice, even short periods can work.
- Make yourself comfortable in a space where you won’t be easily distracted.
- Take it slow. You don’t need to set ambitious goals or put pressure on yourself.
- Don’t worry about whether you’re doing it right.
Lifestyle changes for mindfulness can include:
- Mindful breathing—Sitting quietly and focusing on your breath.
- Mindful walking—Paying attention to the way your body moves and feels.
- Mindful eating—Focusing on taste, texture and temperature of food.
- Mindful listening—Listening without judgement, criticism or interruption.
- Mindful coloring or drawing—Focus less on what you’re drawing and allow it to flow.
- Full body scans—Moving attention through parts of your body from head to toe.
Anyone who wants to improve their day-to-day well-being can practice mindfulness.
Living Well Counseling Center in Tinton Falls offers individualized therapy to men and women ages fifteen and older. Through a holistic approach, we help patients heal by considering all facets of their life. Our approach with clients helps improve their lives by assisting them to learn and recover from past traumas while providing a nurturing environment where they can achieve their present and future goals.
If you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone, and we are here to help. Get in touch today and take the first steps towards healing.
TELEPHONE: (732) 440-9330