Daily Mindfulness Practice Basics

By Bruce Craig, Resident in Counseling

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

A simple and effective way to cultivate a more calm and peaceful life is to take the time to notice the thoughts that lead to our feelings. Our brains are always thinking even if we are not tuned into our thoughts.  These thoughts lead to feelings whether we acknowledge them or not.  Thoughts are not facts so often we are living in feelings of high emotion based on things our brain has conjured up that we likely haven’t even validated.

In order to break this difficult cycle, we can begin a practice of noticing.  We start by tuning back into our gut reaction and noticing, as early as possible, and while we are in our rational mind that we are feeling something.  Try to label what you are feeling such as, β€œI am feeling anxious.”  Next, go to your mind and identify the thought that is leading to the feeling.  Acknowledge your mind for having the thought because your mind is likely trying to help you in some way.  Notice if the thought is actually useful to you in this present moment.  Often the thought is not something that can be or needs to be dealt with in the moment and this simple acknowledgement will make your brain feel heard and help you to let the thought pass.

This practice of noticing will become more automated over time and keep these difficult emotions from adding up and attacking us all at once.  Repeat this process as often as possible in your daily life but remember that you are human and will forget at times.  We all react in ways we later regret but it is this intention and effort to do better that is important and we need to learn to accept our shortcomings as learning opportunities.  

In future articles we will discuss how to implement other aspects of Mindfulness such as Self-Compassion, but this piece of noticing is the foundation that will allow us to see negative thought processes that need to be worked with.

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About Bruce Craig:

Bruce is a resident in counseling providing counseling services at our Fredericksburg location. Bruce is a recent graduate from Eastern Mennonite University with a MA in Counseling, following a B.S. in Social Psychology from Park University.

Bruce completed a rigorous internship working with individuals, couples, families and groups. Bruce also finds Mindfulness to be useful in helping clients be in the present moment. For clients who are receptive to it, he teaches them ways of controlling their thoughts instead of becoming anxious about things that might happen or focusing on aspects they cannot change.

He is currently in a course to become certified in the use of Mindfulness in therapy but already has experience and success applying Mindfulness with clients. Bruce provides a warm, empathetic, and non-judgmental space for all people to bring whatever issues they need to work through. To learn more about Bruce, visit here.


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