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Sassy’s Blog (#7): Mindfulness Practices and Identifying Emotions

Sassy’s Blog is named for the very astute cat of WRC’s Clinical Director and Resource Coordination Counselor, Kai Qualls, M.A., LPC. The theme of the Blog is Resilience, which is especially timely given our shared uncertainty during the COVID-19 crisis. We hope you will enjoy and benefit from Sassy’s Blog, this month written by fellow member of the Resource Coordination and Counseling team, Rujuta Chincholkar-Mandelia, PhD, M.Ed.

Last week I organized a group of children to have a conversation on mindfulness and how they could use it in their daily lives. Most of them had an idea of what the word meant, but mostly they identified mindfulness with meditation and complained how boring that was. It got me thinking about how we understand mindfulness and how we practice it. Many of my clients have also struggled with being mindful and feeling overwhelmed about including meditation in their daily practices.

So, I thought it would be beneficial to us to have a discussion on a couple of simple ways we can incorporate mindfulness in our daily lives. Mindfulness is being able to be aware of the present moment. It is especially helpful when we are struggling with identifying our emotions. Many of my clients struggle with a range of emotional upheaval especially as they go through various transitions related to separation, divorce, abuse, financial instability amongst things. It becomes very difficult to identify what and how we are feeling in the moment and locate it in our bodies. Without identifying emotions, we cannot work towards change and feel stuck.

Here are a couple of tools to incorporate mindfulness practices in our daily lives to identify our emotions:

  1. Check in: One way of tapping into how we feel is to simply ask ourself, “What am I feeling right now?” One technique that I use is to schedule a time to check in. I put reminders on my phone throughout the day asking me to either check in or ask the question, “how are you feeling right now?”
  2. Journaling: Writing is an amazing way to tap into our feelings in the present moment. It could be a word on paper or a sentence or a paragraph. It is also allows us to go back and look into certain patterns that we may have and work on it, when we are ready.

Both these practices can help you get started on your journey to incorporate mindfulness as a daily practice. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Life is available only in the present moment.”