There is no universally recognized definition of mindfulness; however, there are some consistent key concepts. Mindfulness is focusing one’s attention on our present condition. It is gaining awareness of the thoughts, feelings, and sensations we experience in the here-and-now, rather than on past adversity or future anxieties. According to therapists at the Youth Crisis Center, mindfulness is having an awareness of our physical, mental, and emotional condition without assigning judgment on ourselves.
YCC therapists believe someone can begin their mindfulness journey by utilizing grounding strategies from three categories: mental, physical, and soothing.
Therapists at the Youth Crisis Center recommend that you try describing what’s around you. It is advised to spend a few minutes taking in your surroundings and noting what you see. Therapists encourage using all five senses during their exercise.
Experts at the Youth Crisis Center also suggest that you do something that brings you joy or makes you laugh. You can do this by watching your favorite TV show, movie or even scrolling through clips on social media.
It is recommended to try to pick up or touch things near you. YCC wants you to ask yourself questions about the item, such as whether it is soft or hard or cool to touch. Therapists want you to focus on the texture and the color of each item. They also challenge you to tap into your creativity by naming specific colors like crimson or lavender instead of red and purple.
Therapists also want you to focus on your breathing. If that is something you find difficult to start, they suggest slowly inhaling and then exhaling. Saying or thinking “in” and “out” with each breath could also be beneficial. YCC encourages you to feel each breath filling your lungs and note how it feels to push it back out.
When it comes to soothing, it is recommended you practice self-kindness during your mindfulness practice. You can use self-affirmations that make you feel good and powerful.
You can also visualize your favorite place. It’s recommended that you use your senses during this exercise. Close your eyes and visualize one of your favorite places to be. Think or say out loud the colors you see, the sounds you hear, or the smells coming to mind.