The practice of mindfulness can help you stay focused, relaxed and calm when everything seems to be competing for your attention.
By Andrea Walker-Leidy
Sponsored by Viewpoint Psychology and Wellness
In a world filled with alerts, distractions and notifications, how do you stay “in the moment?” Even now, while reading these words, you may be thinking of to-do lists, regrets or plans. Dr. Melanie Schwartz, owner of Viewpoint Psychology and Wellness, sees the effects of the wandering mind on a daily basis. She offers a simple tool that can help regain focus, relaxation and calm: mindfulness.
Mindfulness can be defined as being present both physically and emotionally. It is an awareness of what you are feeling physically and emotionally as well as your immediate environment, right now. In this moment.
“Mindfulness is not a new practice,” Schwartz says. “However, mindfulness has become more prevalent as individuals are more stressed, more anxious and more depressed than ever before due to our environment and lifestyle.”
Schwartz adds mindfulness is important because people rarely spend time in the present. “We are very forward-focused people,” she explains. “We worry and plan for what is in the next hour, next day, next week, next year. This often causes anxiety because we don’t have any control over the future.”
People are also often focused on things that happened in the past. “We think about what we ‘should’ have done differently or what we regret,” Schwartz says.
These feelings of regret can lead to depression because people don’t have the control to change the past or the things they regret. Mindfulness can help identify the things that can be controlled in the present. Focusing on those helps to find peace.
How can you incorporate mindfulness into your daily life? Schwartz offers these tips:
- Take two to three minutes a few times a day to be mindful
- Go outside and take in the environment around you
- Identify five objects that you can visually see in your environment
- Listen for the sounds that you hear
- Touch something near you, or even put something cold, like ice, in your hand
- Lastly, take a deep breath and identify what you smell — diffusing essential oils can help keep you present
- Sit back at your desk or on your couch and identify exactly what you are feeling both physically and emotionally right in this moment.
Clients come to Viewpoint in Commerce and West Bloomfield for a myriad reasons, and many can be assisted with mindfulness techniques. During a therapy session, Schwartz teaches clients how to access these techniques. Then, they identify ongoing strategies to incorporate into their lives and keep them focused on the present.
“Therapy can also identify what is getting in the way of a person becoming more mindful and help them to gain some insight into potential issues that may prevent them from wanting to experience their emotions in that moment,” Schwartz says. “Fear is often a leading cause of this, which prevents people from wanting to engage in mindful behaviors.”
Discovering the causes for anxiety, or the inability to remain focused in the moment, can help people overcome these issues. Schwartz and the team at Viewpoint have worked with hundreds of patients, helping them become more mindful and enjoy each moment in their lives.
Viewpoint Psychology and Wellness
2075 E. West Maple Road, Commerce Township
7035 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield