Mindfulness – Inside and Out

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, March 22, 2017
By Courtney Waugh, LMFT

Mindfulness is a state of being that people are becoming more and more familiar with. Many understand it as being aware of their surroundings, noticing the trees on a walk, touching something and really feeling it, being present with what’s around. Pretty much in tune with your five senses. It most definitely is and it’s so much more.

I love to use mindfulness in helping my clients overcome anxiety, depression, building confidence, enhancing relationships and more. As much as mindfulness is about noticing your present surroundings and being present externally, it’s just as much as noticing your internal world as well. The key, though, is doing that without attaching to thoughts, feelings/emotions and not judging yourself when you do!

Mindfulness is powerful in that it allows you to become an observer of your own inner workings without being a slave to every thought, feeling, emotion, ache and/or pain and being trapped within. Instead of being reactive and dragged on a leash, as I say, you get to be in charge and take back your life.

We have thousands of thoughts a day. Many we don’t pay attention to and many we do. Thoughts are just thoughts but we tend to give a lot of power to them.

Some thoughts don’t peak people’s interest or create any chaos and they slide on by but then here comes that thought about something that either makes you mad, anxious, scared, feel less than or just distant and it pulls you in. So now that it’s got you, you start to think about it and fall into the “story” and unable to let go. It usually pulls you to the past or future and not at peace in the present as it’s very difficult to be in the present when caught in thought. Mindfulness is noticing that thought and not attaching, not going to (the) ‘what if’ island with it or giving it the power many tend to do.

You may not believe me but 90% of thoughts are deceptive and actually deemed to be irrational and will not come to fruition. When I tell that to others, most say, “Not my thoughts.” That’s the irony though. When we are truly present and mindful we are not in thought, we just are. We can have thoughts but we aren’t in thought or driven to react to thoughts in an unproductive and/or unhealthy way.

Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual guru, author and teacher, doesn’t like the term mindfulness because he believes we are less in the mind when present and not full of mind. That’s getting technical a bit but you can see the point of not being in your head. As “simple” as it may sound it’s not always so easy. Our brains become wired a certain way from past experiences, habit, brain chemistry, etc. but mindfulness can, through practice, actually rewire your brain. That’s powerful!

As a new mom to my almost nine-month old, mindfulness comes in handy. Mindfulness allows me to be fully present with him and less reactive to inevitable fears and worries. There is no perfection, thus, the importance of non-judgment and letting go.

Mindfulness is a process, a way of retraining your brain, retraining yourself really. It’s a beautiful practice that one can do at any moment of the day. I know from first-hand experience when my clients learn how to gain control back over their mind and create an awareness that they’ve never had before, their whole world changes for the better. They can be present in life and enjoy it.

Community Men’s Group
Led by Carolina Pataky
February 20, 2017 8PM – 9:30PM

Often in collaboration with other experts, Carolina’s mission for this group is to create a place where men can not only openly discuss their concerns, but adopt a new, richer understanding of the world around them. It’s a place for building trust, unity and authenticity. A place to break free and understand the limiting societal beliefs imposed on men. Through the sharing of ideas and experiences, we explore topics surrounding relationships, careers, transitions, life events, dating and sex. Complimentary.

Meets every other Monday at our offices.