Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Mindful Journey

Mindfulness does not have one set definition. It involves being "present" in the moment. Paying attention to what you are seeing, feeling, experiencing, thinking as it is happening. As people, we also tend to judge thoughts, experiences, and emotions as good or bad. There is a time and place for this, but when you are practicing mindfulness, you are learning to not be so hard on yourself, to decrease anxiety responses so that you are not always in "flight, fright or freeze" response in every moment of the day. You are learning to live in the present. You are learning how your mind, body and emotions connect and work simultaneously. You learn how to adjust your thoughts, body and emotions to benefit the others.

I cannot tell you how much this has helped me while working in the mental health field. All day long I am bombarded with the behavioral and emotional effects of children's mental health issues. This involves making split-second decisions regarding children's well-being and safety, one after the other, while managing my own emotional responses. And not just for one child, but a group of them. Thankfully I have amazing team members to remind me what I am truly responsible for and to encourage me (not always very gently :) ) to practice mindfulness through stopping, taking stock of the situation, my emotions and my rationale for my decisions. This all has to happen before that split-second decision, so practicing mindfulness (how my body is feeling based on my emotional response from my mental assessment of the situation) is essential to be a good therapist and do my job well. 

My mindfulness journey began with my co-workers, husband and family saying "TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!" I wasn't really sure how. I wasn't really sure what would help me de-stress and recharge for the next round of craziness in the daytreatment setting. Or just to recharge to be able to fully live my life. I started with leaving work earlier, crafting more, spending hours on Pinterest to get ideas for what would help me with this venture, drinking more water, yoga, and just paying more attention, becoming more mindful in my actions and daily life. 

That was the beginning. I now find myself learning more and more (and wanting to!) and more about what is interesting and helpful to me and those around me. This has evolved into a great interest in holistic and alternative health practices (or as my sister so diplomatically puts it, "that weirdo hippie stuff" :) ), exercise and relaxation, organic food and practices, dairy and gluten free, decreasing the amount of toxins and bad stuff into our bodies and environment, social justice, creating through crafting and experimenting. 

I am using this blog to keep track and share my ideas and creations, as I find myself passionately sharing these things with those around me and wishing I had a way to share all that I have learned. 


  1. Looking forward to reading more :)

  2. This is wonderful information, Jill. I am inspired to do more holistically this year. I shall try your body wash as my skin is dried out using commercial ones. They will be lovely gifts to share!

  3. JC Piech: Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm enjoying reading your blog as well!

    Ama: I'm so glad I could help! That is my goal :)