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Mindfulness Exercises

This is how mindfulness helps you live in the moment and manage the limbic system fight or
flight response.

If you've heard of or read about mindfulness — a form of meditation — you might be curious
about how to practice it. Find out how to do mindfulness exercises and how they might benefit
you to get out of the limbic system that causes you to drink too much.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the act of being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling at every
moment — without question or judgment.

Spending too much time planning, problem-solving, daydreaming, or thinking negative or
random thoughts can be draining - this is called "automatic pilot" or "acting without thinking". It
can also make you more likely to experience stress, anxiety that triggers the limbic system.
Practicing mindfulness exercises, on the other hand, can help you direct your attention away from
this kind of "mindless thinking" to make life easier and control the need to abuse alcohol.

What are the benefits of mindfulness exercises?

Practicing mindfulness exercises can have many possible benefits, including:

  • Reduced stress, anxiety and depression

  • Less negative thinking and distraction

  • Improved mood

What are some examples of mindfulness exercises?

There are many ways to practice mindfulness. For example:

  • Pay attention. The next time you meet someone, listen closely to his or her words. Think about their meaning and what they say. Aim to develop a habit of understanding others and delaying your own judgments and criticisms. Trust is Healing!

  • Think First. Plan what you need to do before it happens. Practice what you need to do to keep stress and anxiety from triggering the fight or flight response. For example: The PC Van and police will trigger the fight or flight response. Think about what you are going to do when they show up. Think about what you need to do to keep from being taken to NCI!

  • Respect Yourself and Respect Others. Don't just listen to what people say but hear what they are saying. Ask questions when you don't understand - because misunderstandings will only increase mistrust and conflict with your family and friends. Get off the PITY POT and quit blaming others for YOUR PROBLEMS. Stop the negative self-talk by staying relaxed and calm so the limbic system doesn't take over. Walk in Beauty - Live with Balance & Harmony!

  • Make the Familiar New Again. Find a few small, familiar objects — such as a water bottle, arrow head or cellphone. Look at these objects with fresh eyes. Identify one new detail about each object that you didn't see before. As you become more aware of your world, you might become fonder of the things around you to relieve stress and anxiety that triggers the fight or flight response.

  • Focus on Your Breathing. Sit in a quiet place with your back straight, but relaxed. Feel your breath move in and out of your lunges. Let your awareness of everything else fall away. Pay attention to your nostrils as air passes in and out. Notice the way your abdomen expands and collapses with each breath. When your mind wanders, gently redirect your attention to your breath. Don't judge yourself. Remember that you're not trying to become anything — such as a good meditator. You're simply becoming aware of what's happening around you, breath by breath.

  • Awaken your senses.  Paying close attention to your senses and your body's reaction to what is around you might reveal insight into your relationship with your culture and purpose. Look around you and see the beautiful landscape before you. Become a part of this beauty - relax, calm down and breath. Be proud of yourself. Be Proud - Be Strong - Never Give Up!

When and how often should I practice mindfulness exercises?

It depends on what kind of mindfulness exercise you plan to do.

For example, if you choose to work on respecting yourself and others closely pay attention to
what people are saying, in another's words, you can repeat the exercise throughout the day. Aim
to practice situations where you are looking at the person eye to eye in a "good way". Practice
saying hello to people in a "good way" for 15 to 20 minutes, four to eight times a day.

For other mindfulness exercises, such as focused breathing, you'll need to set aside time when
you can be in a quiet place without distractions or interruptions. You might choose to practice this
type of exercise early in the morning, before you begin your daily routine.

Aim to practice mindfulness every day for about six months. Over time, you might find that
mindfulness becomes effortless. Think of it as a commitment to reconnecting with and nurturing
yourself. Your happiness begins with you and no one else!

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