Finding Mental Clarity

Finding Mental Clarity

Have you ever driven somewhere only to arrive at your destination and realize you don't remember the journey? Or started eating a handful of chips only to realize you ate the whole bag? These are examples of mindlessness — what we often refer to as "zoning out."

Mindfulness is the practice of being present. Being aware of your body, mind and feelings in the present moment instead of rehashing the past, which we can't change, or imagining the future, which we can't control.

Though it sounds simple, in a fast-paced world where everything is simultaneously begging for our attention, it can be a real challenge. However, if you practice to achieve this mental clarity, mindfulness has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress while improving memory, focus and empathy. More importantly, mindfulness can improve one's physical and mental health, relationships and overall wellbeing.

You can practice mindfulness in many ways — meditation, contemplative prayer, guided audio or visual practices, or even just using your senses to take in the world around you.

A simple and fun way to practice mindfulness and teach it to kids is at dinner. Ask everyone at the table to partake in one minute of silence to use their senses to investigate the qualities of their food — identify taste, smell, texture, appearance, emotions related to the food and sounds the food makes while being eaten. Afterwards, you can talk about what you identified if you want. This easy technique allows the family to remain present in the moment and explore this process together. Plus, it can be done anywhere — at work, school, a friend/coworker's house, etc.

"I'm still getting used to sitting still and quieting my mind, but I'm already seeing the benefits in the way I respond to stress in my life," shares Jessica.

Learn more about how you can incorporate trauma-informed care into your daily life through some of our related blog posts.