Tags: health, mental-health
I love introducing the bell of mindfulness to students and clients in my school-based and community counseling practice whenever distress shows up. The bell of mindfulness beckons the listener to come back to the present moment, listen to the sound of the bell, take mindful in and out breaths, and compassionately observe thoughts, feelings, sensations, or images. The bell of mindfulness can also be a metaphorical reminder for us to return our awareness to the present moment. For example, physical or emotional distress can be such a “bell” that activates mindful awareness upon a location within the body that is experiencing tension. Focusing attentively with acceptance and compassion upon that part of the body provides a space for healing and centering.
The bell of mindfulness can be the sound of a meditation bell, the sound of a phone ringing, a dog barking, the voice of a loved one, or it can be an image of what is of value to each person. In my own life, the bells of mindfulness that I use when I am in distress are images of loving family members, places in nature that are connected to my family, or simply being aware of the in and out breath in the present moment as I walk, listen to good music, or eat something healthy.
I invite you to take a moment to think of what nurtures you and come back to that as a bell of mindfulness, breathe in and out, and be compassionately aware of the present moment as you encounter any distress. You may be pleasantly surprised with how much you can heal yourself in the present moment by finding your own bell of mindfulness. What is your bell of mindfulness?
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(with contributing editors Heather Butts, JD, MPH, MA, Larry Cammarata, Ph.D., and Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT)
Slow is a Fast Route to Health and Wellness by Larry Cammarata, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist Copyright September 11, 2013September 11, 2013 at 12:23 am | Posted in Mind Body Medicine, Mindfulness, Self-Regulation, Stress Management, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
The other day, I observed a man walking hurriedly on a downtown street. With his cell phone to his ear and an eye on his watch, he seemed to be late to an appointment. His brow was furrowed, his body tense, and if I had to make a quick assessment, I would say that he was stressed! Have you ever noticed how you feel when you are rushing about your house, impatient, or simply feeling pressed for time? In that sort of situation, chances are that your heart rate is elevated, your breathing is shallow, and more of the stress hormone cortisol is flowing through your bloodstream.
From time to time, everyone experiences stress, and that’s not necessarily a problem. However, when stress is chronic or uncontrollable, we become vulnerable to physical illnesses and emotional problems. The good news is that there are easily learnable mind-body practices that can reverse this pattern. In addition to being healthy for you, these activities are also extremely enjoyable.
Research shows that slow movement practices such as Tai Chi, Yoga, and Qigong can have numerous physical and emotional benefits that support mood, sleep, and cardiovascular health, while also reducing stress and pain. The article at the link below by Psychology Professor Alan Fogel, Ph.D. describes the benefits of slow movement with awareness. I encourage you to read it slowly, with a relaxed body, and while taking long, slow, deep breaths. Enjoy!
(with contributing editors, Heather Butts, J.D., MPH, MA, Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT, and Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC)