A Mindful 4th of July

Happy Fourth of July!

Holidays can be filled with fun but also an opportunity for stress and anxiety symptoms to flair up. Doing too much, being exhausted and overwhelmed at the tasks of parenthood can turn holidays into nightmares if we are not careful. With that in mind, our topic today is mindfulness. Mindfulness--what is it? It is a trending tropic all around in social media, yoga circles, self-improvement lingo, and in therapeutic practices. As a mom, you may wonder:—how does it work? How do I do it? And Can It Help Me? Mindfulness is about learning to be aware of the present—living in the NOW by engaging the mind and body with breathing techniques, the use of our five senses, and reducing our brain “noise and clutter” with relaxation exercises. Mindfulness practice is intended to be calming, stress reducing, and revitalizing. A regular practice of mindfulness and meditation helps us create emotional resources to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression,and actually improve our moods. The more we practice, the better we get at calming our bodies and minds, and better handling whatever stress we are experiencing. One of the challenges to living more mindfully, is the abundance of information and images we are constantlyexposed to through entertainment and media. Learning to unplug, clear your mind, and give your brain a chance to rest and restore is a challenge worth pursuing. So, at the risk of sounding contradictory to the suggestion to unplug, here are some resources which might help you increase your own practice of mindfulness:

* Top-rated smart phone Apps – Calm, Headspace, YouTube, all have guided meditations to teach mindfulness. You have meditation tools literally at your hands!

* Mandela Coloring Books – Coloring is not just for kids! Therapists are known to recommend these coloring books as a way for clients to relax, focus, and be in the present. Art Therapy is a tried-and-true relaxation practice that can calm your nervous system.

* Breathwork - learning to breathe deeply and therapeutically can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. Again, look up guided breathwork videos on YouTube and other platforms.

* Practice using your senses to enhance your awareness of the here and now and help you feel grounded. A common prompt is, “Name five things you see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.”

So, enjoy exploring mindfulness this holiday week, and as always, “be well!” If you would like to speak with a therapist about how to reduce stress and increase mindfulness, please reach out to CPFH at 713.561.3884 or email us at info@CPFH.org.