Today is our Encouragement Wednesday and I (Bianca) want to share with you one skill, mindful meditation that I’ve been learning and practicing daily to help me be more self-aware, in the present, and have peace of mind. First let me share a little bit about myself so you know why I needed this skill and how much I’ve benefitted from it’s daily practice. So by day I’m a full-time Counselor/Parent Support Specialist/Mental Health Skill Building Specialist. I know what you’re thinking…3 titles though?? lol Yes! Based on my caseload I do all of the above positions. Along with my face to face hours with clients, I’m also on-call 24/7 7 days a week for crisis situations for my clients. If I include paperwork and face to face work hours, I average 50-60 hours per week with typically 1 day off per week. A part of why I work so much is because I’m a Resident in Counseling working to obtain a license to be a Professional Counselor (Therapist) in Virginia. In addition to all that’s listed above, I’m the Co-owner of Natural Power of HER (you knew that) where we blog weekly, host natural hair events, introduced an apparel line and so much more behind the scenes brand building. I also have a blog, RVA Exclusives where I share with minority young professionals exclusive events happening in Richmond, VA. Not to mention the roles of being a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, mentor, etc. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on in any given day in my life. I’ve felt stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious, irritable, even depressed. I’m guilty of going through the motions and not really living as I’m caught up in thoughts and emotional storms, that I wasn’t even fully aware of at the moment. And then comes the practice of mindful meditation which I have benefitted from greatly.
At the agency I work for there’s been a lot of trainings recently on DBT skills, so that we are better equipped to teach these skills to our clients. This is where mindful meditation, a skill that has brought me great peace of mind was introduced. Mindful meditation is the practice of paying attention to something, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). To me, mindful meditation is spending time in quiet thought for relaxation and increased awareness.
What do I do? As a beginner, I have committed 10-20 minutes every morning and night to practice mindful meditation. I sit in a seated position, play earthy sounds, and focus on my breath. Sometimes, if my mind is too clouded, I will play a guided meditation video from youtube and follow the directives with the purpose of still focusing on my breath. Below are 2 of my favorite guided meditations. The one I use is based on how much time I have to practice. @TheHonestGuys on Youtube have a lot of great mindful meditation/guided meditation videos.
What are the BENEFITS?
I feel more self-aware than ever before. Overall, I’m happier, less stress, less anxious, hopeful, and more understanding and accepting of self and others. I also have greater emotional awareness and the ability to use skills (such as mindful meditation) to repair unpleasant mood states. I’ve also been more present with family and friends in conversations and interactions with one another. I’m not allowing all that I choose to do stress and overwhelm me as I have more peace of mind. I have a mindset that I’m going to do the best I can each moment of each day and being ok with everything on my list not getting done and everything not being perfect.
Maybe you’re having a moment like I’ve had several times where you think to yourself, “Shit just ain’t right. Something has to change.” Give mindful meditation a try for 30 days and see how it has helped you. Or even share your experience below. We would love to hear from you.