For years I’ve listened to people say they can’t stop overthinking or control their thoughts we’ll say. Well for those who suffer with mental illnesses such as Bipolar, Depression and Anxiety overthinking plays a big role. Something I’ve learned is a technique called Mindfulness. I call it the art of grounding oneself into the present moment.
Mindfulness has been around for a long long time and practiced by many worldwide. It is a very simple technique and can be practiced in many forms. Using your senses and tuning into a certain sense (ex. smell) can break your train of thought and reduce stress or tension. A friend uses scented soaps and everytime she washes her hands she focuses on the smell of the soap instead of anything else on her mind. See what i’m getting at.
Another form of mindfulness is the 54321 game with your senses. When your thinking to much play a game with your senses by naming 5 things you see, 4 things you smell, 3 things you can feel (ex. feet on the floor, the clothing your wearing or something your touching), 2 things you hear, and 1 thing you taste. This game of mindfulness takes your mind away from whatever it is on your mind and you can mix it up if you like.
My favorite form of mindfulness goes like this. Preferably sitting but stand if you can’t sit. Look about six feet in front of you with a soft gaze (not really focusing on anything). Feel your feet grounded to the floor and if sitting feel how your grounded to your seat. Keeping your soft gaze breathe normally and when you exhale focus on your breath as it releases from your body and dissolves. The more you focus on your exhaling breath dissolving into the air the more relaxed you become. Keep that soft gaze and focus on the exhale. Remember breathe as you normally do. If and when your mind wanders start over again. This technique comes with practice and really works on grounding yourself into the present. You can do it anywhere anytime. I suggest you practice a couple times a day for about ten minutes. I start and end my day this way.
Minfulness and Bipolar – A study by Melbourne researcher Sarah Russel PhD. surveyed 100 “successful Bipolar patients and asked what did they do to stay well. Seventy-six percent were in paid employment, thirty eight percent were parents. What Dr. Russell discovered boiled down to mindfulness or moving swiftly to intercept a mood swing. This had to do with how patients respond to their mental, emotional, social and physical enviroment.