Blog post by Allison Hadley, Clinical Intern at Owens & Associates

Now that Spring is finally here, I know many of us are excited to open our windows, get in the
dirt, and feel the sun on our skin! Some of us might even be preparing
ourselves for that yearly housekeeping tradition: Spring cleaning. It can be a
relieving task to rid ourselves of the interior accumulations Winter brings
whether it’s dust, blankets, clothes, or procrastination. I know I enjoy the
task much more when I have my windows open with a nice breeze blowing in,
knowing I’m bringing a much-needed breath of life into my home. We can achieve
this breath of life for ourselves, too, when we incorporate mindfulness into
our lives.

What is mindfulness anyway? It’s a term we see thrown around a lot these days. Maybe
you envision people sitting on yoga mats and pillows meditating, and you think,
“I don’t have time for that!” or “That’s not me!” Mindfulness is, as the writer
and teacher Sylvia Boorstein put it, “awake attention to what is happening
inside and outside so we can respond from a place of wisdom”. It is open,
nonjudgmental awareness of what is in your environment and what is going on
inside ourselves. Though meditation can turbo-charge mindfulness practice, the
good news for those hesitant to take on meditation is that mindfulness can be
practiced anywhere, anytime, in any way. I’ll share some links at the bottom to
some good beginner mindfulness exercises!

I believe one of the most beneficial aspects of practicing mindfulness is how it helps us
process uncomfortable emotions. So many of us spend much of our time and our
lives running away from emotions that don’t “feel good” like fear, sadness,
anger, guilt, and shame. That avoidance can take many forms, whether it’s
alcohol or drug addiction, process addictions like shopping, gambling, or
electronics, perpetual distraction through games or Facebook or ‘staying busy’,
blaming others for anything and everything, etc. The reality is we need all of
our emotions (fear, sadness, anger, disgust, and guilt) to survive. Mindfulness
helps us lean into those emotions so we can untangle the storyline we have
created about them. Experiencing our feelings of fear, sadness, anger will not
destroy us; mindfulness helps retrain ourselves to knowing we can handle them. Mindfulness reminds us
that emotions are not permanent; it is only when we avoid dealing with them
that we get stuck.

So let’s get to Spring cleaning our usual patterns by starting mindfulness practices!

This provides beginning
meditation practices: