The Power of Mindful Thinking

The Power of Mindful Thinking - astrOGvibes

Someone recently asked Facebook to share the most beneficial thing that has been learned in therapy. I have dedicated my life to growing through my own mental health journey and helping others do the same. Due to this, I have been in and out of therapy NUMEROUS times throughout my life. My time in therapy began in middle school when I was first evaluated for ADHD. Again, throughout my high school years as I battled intensely with depression. After the birth of my daughter, I found that OCD crept in on me, and I was back in the chair. After my sister passed away, I was a mess and was back in therapy once again. And yet again, when I was pregnant with my son, to help me gain tools to prepare myself for the risk of PPD. I have most recently gone back because I was looking into how to set and maintain boundaries. I have never been great at this and wanted to ensure I was doing it so that it didn't leave anyone thinking I didn't love them. Every time I have been in therapy has been a specific chapter of my life where I needed extra support and guidance from a source outside of myself. 

There are many things I have learned throughout the years that I could have added to the list: How to be okay without perfectionism; how to recognize my patterns of depression, so I can be proactive as opposed to looking up from a deep, dark, depressive hole and feeling stuck; Why I felt the need to endlessly clean and "stay productive, and with that learning to be okay with doing absolutely nothing because that can be productive too. For me, what popped out the most at that moment I read the post was mindfulness. The term "Mindfulness" is so broad that some people don't even know where to begin with this. It's a complex concept to grasp and just equally a rigorous practice to build. As difficult as the building process may get, magic happens once we really start tapping in and remaining mindful. 

More recently, in therapy, I have been working on building boundaries. As someone who has been a people pleaser most of my life, I have always struggled with limitations, with myself and other alike. This includes setting boundaries with myself around shame and judgment. We often think about mindfulness as needing to "police our mind" and prevent all thoughts that are less than positive from crossing the brain's threshold. This is not the case; mindfulness is simply an observation. Our shadow side will always be there; it will frequently attempt to whisper negative thoughts into our minds. This is a normal part of life; however, the voice will get quieter as you know more. The goal is not to change the voice; it is to understand it. Our negative thoughts stem from our traumas, pain, and insecurities. Knowing where these thoughts come from can change our whole life. 

When we think something negative while trying to be positive, we judge ourselves for feeling that. Awareness and encouragement/understanding are the keys to getting through these moments. Judgments about ourselves or others will come up. This is absolutely natural, but the most important thing I have learned recently is that we cannot judge our judgments. When we judge our judgments, we instill anger and frustration in us. The more we fight against our judgments, the more they begin to arise. Anger and frustration are never good, and they will ALWAYS hold us back. 

If you want to start practicing mindfulness, here are a few ways you can begin...

Meditation: try to clear your mind, calming and slowly. Don't judge if you find your mind wandering; just make a mental note and let it go. Don't hold on to any thought for more than a couple of seconds. I love to light a candle or incense and hold on to a crystal to help me activate my senses. Check out our favorite meditation candle, Heavily Meditated. 

Grounding: It is almost wintertime in Minnesota, so this is a bit harder right now, but go outside and walk around in the grass. Feel the earth on your toe, breathe in the fresh air and just be in the moment without thinking much else. 

Day to day activities: throughout the day, while doing different activities, be entirely there. Don't think about anything else; tap into your senses that are activated within that activity. If you are folding laundry, slow down and feel the heat from the clothes, slowly fold each piece of clothing, pay attention to everything you are doing. 

These are great ways to begin, but remember, the most important thing is to RELEASE judgment. Nothing will be easy the first time you try it, and it will take work and practice. Grant yourself the grace of learning and growing, don't judge yourself before you even get started. 

With love,

Kay 

 

Leave a comment