By Celeste Jacobs-Richards
As we go through different experiences daily, some easier than others, some clearly understandable and others not, we need to be aware and mindful of our senses, thoughts and feelings in the here-and-now. Being mindful is acknowledging these parts of yourself, labelling them and accepting them without judgement. Think about what you are thinking about. Allow and feel the emotions you are experiencing. Spend some time daily being aware of how you feel; what you feel physically, emotionally and spiritually. Be attentive to the present. Looking too much into the past and trying to live in the future can result in high levels of anxiety.
Mindfulness allows for: –
- Improved mental health
- Greater satisfaction in relationships
- Improved ability to manage emotions
- Improved ability to adapt to stressful situations
Each of us has our own way of thinking, which has a great impact on how we feel and how we behave. Our thinking will impact how we view self, others and the world. We need to take our thoughts captive and be transformed through changed thinking patterns.
Try these mindfulness exercises (PDF)
It is important to practice this often, for it to become a more natural part of our daily living. To keep us present in the moment to moment of every day. This will result in us being more aware of our thoughts and feelings and as a result more in control of them too. This leaves us feeling empowered rather than disempowered to thoughts and feelings that we do not control but control us. Are you thinking about what you are thinking about?
How then does one challenge their thoughts and manage their emotions. All necessary for healthier living and part and parcel of personal self-care. If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t! Both statements are true. It is imperative for self-care that you are mindful and are wise about what you read, watch and or listen to. Who you spend time with and what you allow into your mind, will influence your overall mental health.
Take time to challenge your thoughts and replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts. This is an intentional exercise to engage in. Some questions to ask yourself:-
- Are my thoughts life giving?
- Are my thoughts positive?
- Are my thoughts realistic?
- Is there evidence contrary to my thoughts?
- What would a trusted friend say about the situation?
Will you choose to see the cup half full, half empty or totally full….. with AIR.
Read this full series on COVID-19 (and anytime!) Self-Care:
- Physical Self-Care
- Emotional Self-Care
- Mental Self-Care (that’s this one!)
- Spiritual Self-Care
Celeste is a private professional clinical psychologist. She holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Rhodes University. Celeste joined our faculty in July 2014. She teaches Theories of Counselling and Trauma Counselling. Since 2014 she has been volunteering as a psychotherapist at Elusitsweni (Challenge Ministries Swaziland), a residential home for women with life-controlling habits. She is married and active in her home congregation.
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