The act of being mindful is much more. It means being present and fully immersed in a moment by engaging all of our senses.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the ability to be aware and to take a moment to be conscious of the sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feelings around us.
This allows you to slow down, experience being in the moment, and take time to focus on being present.
How can mindfulness be valuable?
Can you think of a time when you have experienced something that was upsetting or traumatic?
Did that moment seem to go by in slow motion?
Was every excruciating minute of the experience heightened and memorable?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it is possible that you experienced hyperarousal.
Hyperarousal can be explained as a heightened state of anxiety during a negative experience.
When we are hyper-aroused, we are in a state of being alert.
We are conscious of the sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feelings around us. This is why some individuals who have experienced a distressing event describe being triggered by certain sights, smells and tastes.
This is, in a sense, being mindful. The body is activated on every level and is hyperaware of the things surrounding it.
This poses a question: If we become fully immersed in a traumatic experience, can we do the same thing for activities we enjoy?
The answer is: yes, we can, and there’s a simple way that you can exercise mindfulness each and every day.
Dealing with hyperarousal by being mindful
Mindfulness can be achieved by an activity called Noticing 5.
By noticing 5 things, you can:
What things of beauty can you notice?
What does the sky look like?
What are the shapes of the leaves in the trees?
What are the colours that surround you?
What can you feel?
Can you feel the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet? Notice you didn’t notice those feelings before.
Can you feel a breeze or the warmth of the sunshine on your shoulders?
What smells do you notice?
Can you smell flowers or the bush?
Can you smell food cooking?
Can you smell the seaweed at the beach?
Can you taste coffee or tea or other food you just ate?
If you are in the process of eating, try noticing texture and sweetness. Chew slowly to enjoy the entire experience.
Can you hear cars or people chatter, birds, wind, waves, your feet walking on the ground?
When you are able to slow down the experience, live in the moment and take time to focus on the things you enjoy, you become aware of your own enjoyment.
Incorporating mindfulness in daily activities can really help us to heighten the experience of happiness and joy which, in turn, can have a positive impact on mental health.
If you have experienced trauma and it has had a negative impact on your wellbeing, Clear Health Psychology has a range of psychologists who are passionate about improving quality of life.
If you need help or support, please make an appointment to chat with a psychologist on 08 6424 8177.
Written by: Olivia Smith
To book an appointment with Olivia, please call the number below. To read more about Olivia, click here.