Mindfulness: Living in the Moment

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The ding of your phone as emails come in, planning tomorrow's activities or worrying over past mistakes, our minds are often battlegrounds of thoughts and information competing for our attention. This constant state of mental racing can leave us drained, anxious, and stressed. You've probably heard "mindfulness" mentioned as an alternative approach to dealing with the noise of our lives. But what does being mindful mean?

What is Mindfulness?

In Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness as "paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally." Mindfulness is a form of meditation that focuses our minds to what is happening right now and choosing to not pass judgment on whatever thoughts or emotions arise.

Benefits of Mindfulness

Practicing meditation has multiple benefits, including helping to alleviate stress, anxiety, pain, depression, and even insomnia. Mindfulness in particular is also being explored for potential benefits to military personnel with traumatic brain injuries and even as treatment for internet gaming disorder. Potential applications for mindfulness are still being discovered, such as in the workplace to help avoid job burnout and work-related stress.

Practicing Mindfulness

What does mindfulness look like in practice? While there are many ways to be mindful, here are a few approaches to get started:

  • Raisin Exercise – Take a raisin in your hand and encounter it as if you've never seen one before. How does it look? How does it feel? Pop it in your mouth. How does it taste? Slowly chew while focusing on the experience. By focusing on the raisin, you are forcing your mind to be present in the moment.

  • Mindful Breathing – Breathe in and out slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay attention as the breath goes in and out, giving your body life. Let your thoughts flow out with each breath.

  • Body Scan – Lie flat on your back. Close your eyes if this helps you focus. Become aware of where your body is pushing against the floor. Starting at the bottom of your feet, slowly bring your attention to each part of your body until you reach the top of your head.

Mindfulness is a simple practice to bring into your life with multiple potential benefits. Give mindfulness a try and experience the restfulness of living in the moment.

By the way, if you need any support regarding you as an individual or with your relationship, feel free to contact us today to learn how we can help.

Pack Your Bags

Doctors often use the word trauma to describe the effects of serious injury to the physical body, and the bruising  that is left behind from the sudden impact. We can also experience emotional trauma in the same way, and the bruising can be just as severe as with a physical wound. Just like a wound to our physical bodies, emotional trauma requires care and attention so that it may heal.

 If the trauma is left unresolved, it may affect our sense of self and wholeness as a person. This in turn affects our relationships, by bringing a piece of “baggage” into our present.  Emotional trauma can result from any experience in which a person feels that their life or well being is endangered. These experiences can be a divorce, and affair, or other life changing events. Our natural instinct is to protect ourselves, and may manifest as avoidance, denial or repression of the event. Symptoms of unresolved trauma may include addictive behaviors, anxiety and depression.   

 The impact on relationships is severe- wounds that continue to fester, low self esteem, and a complete unawareness of the intensity of negative emotions that are present. Triggers are common, and may unintentionally reopen the wound.

 When trying to heal a trauma from your past, what can you do to resolve the unresolvable?

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If you have had a traumatic event that is affecting your relationship, here are some ways to begin the healing process.  

 1. Understand trauma and its affects- read books, talk with a therapist, and get some outside help. Trauma is very difficult to deal with alone.

2. Develop emotional resilience- as hard as it is, you need  to experience your feelings, not push them away. This can also be accomplished through the help of a therapist.

3. Learn new ways of self soothing- develop self caring behaviors that give you positive feelings. These positive feelings will also spill over into your other relationships.

4. Make sure that you give yourself time- and lots of it. Healing does not take place overnight, and everyone heals at their own pace.

 Healing of trauma is like the healing of any other broken body part, and essential to a whole, healthy life. Making efforts to heal brings us more into the present, making room for connection and intimacy with our loved ones. If you have suffered a trauma, don’t wait any longer to begin the healing process. You’ll be glad that you did. 

Can Your Relationship Survive Infidelity? And Should It?

Can Your Relationship Survive Infidelity? And Should It?

Relationship_survive_InfidelityTrust. It is the foundation of any relationship. There are few things that can break the trust in a relationship as well as cheating can. Now, is cheating a deal-breaker? Not necessarily. It certainly doesn't have to ring an end to a normal healthy relationship.

Have you been cheated on? Before you end your relationship, it is important to think carefully and consider the circumstances. Consider your partner as a whole. Is he/she otherwise honest? It won't be easy, but if you trust your partner and feel that they are truly remorseful, you may want to consider working through the infidelity to keep your relationship.

But what if they have a track pattern of infidelity and other dishonest behavior? If so, you first need to decide if you are willing to stay. If you do decide to stay, it is important that both you and your partner are willing to work together to get to the root of these issues. Sit down together and establish game plan, such as couples' counseling. Know that if they cannot be open, honest and willing to admit that there is an issue, counseling won't be effective...and their dishonest behavior is likely to continue.

While considering your partner, don't forget to consider yourself. Think about how being cheated on made you feel. Can you forgive them and let go? If not, that is perfectly okay. Think deeply about yourself and the principles that you value and live your life by. You might feel that this is the ultimate betrayal and that you cannot stay with your partner. There is no point in staying in a relationship if you know that you won't be happy. If you decide to stay, know that your feelings of hurt, betrayal and disappointment will fade with time as long as both you and your significant other work together to rebuild the bridge of trust that once bonded you together as a couple.