It is good to be back
It is good to be back!
While I have missed writing our blogs and connecting with you through my writing the last few months, I have been busy doing some design work and other creative marketing and research for Sanctuary that I am passionate about.
I thought I would take this first blog in my series to check in. I hope all of you are enjoying your summer. It is by far my favorite season and I have been trying to take advantage of all the opportunities that summer has to offer. One of the things that I am most grateful for is the sun! It has been a beautiful gift to just have the sun shining after what seemed like almost two solid years of rain. I have enjoyed traveling this summer from Maine to Florida and had a wonderful time connecting with my children. This becomes more difficult as I now have two adult children and syncing work and social schedules with them can be difficult. Though summer is my favorite time of year, it doesn’t provide an immunity to life’s struggles.
No matter what season we are in, one effective tool I find helpful is incorporating mindfulness into my daily life.
I have really been trying to soak up the little things that often get taken for granted… the smell of fresh cut grass, sitting out on my deck at sunset watching the fireflies, summer evening drives with all the windows down… my list is long and may look different from the small wonders of summer that you are enjoying, but I hope you are connecting with nature in your own way and are practicing your own mindfulness practices.
Mindfulness has become an overused buzzword in our world today. Some of my clients feel intimidated by it when I mention it in our therapy sessions. It often conjures up feelings of uncomfortableness and is often confused with meditation. Images of sitting legs crossed under a tree without any distracting thoughts comes to mind and that can seem quite uncomfortable and intimidating in our world of endless distractions. Our minds are wired for distractions and our technology saturated culture is speeding that up to unhealthy levels.
As Ellen mentioned in her last blog, the constant stream of distractions we are faced with can be overwhelming and can contribute to mental and physical exhaustion. Mindfulness can be a helpful anecdote and a simple tool that we can use to improve mental focus and increase awareness of what we are thinking and feeling in the present moment and connect us to our present surroundings. It can be especially helpful with anxiety and the constant looping of “what if and worst case scenario thinking”. This doesn’t mean that what comes to the surface is always happy and pleasant. Mindfulness allows you to notice all of your feelings and sensations. I encourage my clients to start with just a few 2-3 minute mindfulness practices each day. This can be done anywhere (no trees or crossing of legs needed).
Take two or three deep breaths.
Pay attention to your breath and your abdomen as it moves in and out.
Take an inventory of all of your senses. What are you smelling, seeing, sensing by touch, hearing and tasting?
What comes in and out of your mind? Allow for negative thoughts and feelings too. Give yourself permission to feel them all without judgement. Be easy on yourself, it takes practice.
If you would like to explore more about mindfulness approaches to stress and anxiety, we are here to help.
At Sanctuary Christian Counseling we help grieving individuals, distressed teens and couples in conflict find peace, solutions and connection. Give us a call!
Sanctuary Christian Counseling
9974 Molly Pitcher Highway, Suite 4
Shippensburg, PA 17257
I look forward to connecting with you in my upcoming blog series on couples. I am passionate about helping couples mend and restore their relationships. My new series will include topics of “Are you trying to fix your spouse?”and “Let’s talk about sex”