Mindfulness & Stress Reduction

Do you feel stressed? Overworked? Negative? Like you can never get a handle on the tasks that pile up on a daily basis? You’re not alone. Life is busy, and it only continues to become more stressful and overwhelming as our days go by. Despite this fact of life, being stressed out doesn’t have to be the norm. You have the ability to take the steps necessary to reduce stress and anxiety so you can live a more organized and intentional life. Using Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MSRB) can help you do just that.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MSRB) is a program that helps you learn how to calm your mind and body to help you cope with illness, pain, and stress.When learning how to use mindfulness to help reduce stress, it’s important to first understand what mindfulness is and isn’t. Being mindful isn’t “zoning out” or “turning off” but rather the act of being present in the moment. Being mindful is being able to be aware of what’s going on around you without letting your mind wander to your grocery list or the fact that you need to clean the house later. Mindfulness enables you to experience the presence without regretting the past or worrying about the future; actions that contribute to your overall stress level. Most importantly, mindfulness is intentional, active, and isn’t particularly easy to achieve. It’s human nature always to be thinking ahead and planning for your next step. However, the process of mindfulness gives you the ability to be the in the moment. Ultimately, you need to ensure that you’re controlling your mind, and your mind isn’t controlling you. This skill lets you handle stress better so when something is stressful, you’re able to process it quickly and easily.

Being able to practice mindfulness for even a few minutes a day is a great way reduce stress. Not sure how to start? A simple walk outside is a great way to begin. Start by taking note of the environment. Is it warm? Cold? Sunny? How does the air feel? Then, notice the noises around you. Are the birds signing? Can you hear snow hitting the trees? Are kids playing in the park? If intrusive thoughts enter your brain simply acknowledge them and move on. If you’re worried about work, make a mental note about it and then let the thought go. It will still be there when you’re done with your exercise, so it makes no sense being concerned with it now. Starting this practice in a place with a lot to experience (like the outdoors) makes it easier to stay in the moment. As you continue to practice this stress reduction technique, you’ll be surprised at how effective it can be.

A great perk of mindfulness is that its effects are cumulative. The more you work on being mindful, the easier it becomes to overcome stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts as they appear. Do you already have a mindfulness practice? If so, keep at it! If not, now is the perfect time to start. Simply take a few deep breaths and be with your thoughts, if only for a moment.

Counselling Burnaby Vancouver, Via Counselling & Consulting. Burnaby Counsellor Shari Wood, M.Ed., R.C.C. dedicated to helping clients begin their personal therapeutic journey. A Clinical Counsellor, specializing in helping people overcome self-doubt and build healthy relationships.