The first time a therapist had me try mindfulness, right there on the spot in her office… it felt weird. She asked me to close my eyes, be present in the moment, and take deep breaths in and out. Initially, I was too busy talking to myself about things I needed to get done right after this session, but my therapist interrupted that conversation to remind me to be present. I was skeptical, but by the next session, I could feel this mindfulness helping me to step outside of my stress and better manage it.
With roots in Buddhism, mindfulness is believed to help with anxiety and other mental stress. The best things about mindfulness is that you can practice anywhere, you don’t need a therapist, it’s free, and it really is easy. For example, put in your ear buds, play a song, close your eyes and listen… to the lyrics, to the different instruments, to the quiet spaces in between the music, to the vocalist’s inflections and melodies. Being present in that moment and not thinking about anything else. Just listening to the song. That’s mindfulness.
So could this work for you? Can’t hurt to try. I interviewed licensed Psychologist and founder Therapy For Black Girls, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, to provide more details to help get you started.
🌱VSC: How does mindfulness differ from meditation.
Dr. Joy: Meditation is a form of mindfulness. Some people choose to meditation as their practice of mindfulness, but you can be mindful without engaging in medication.
🌱VSC: What is the goal of mindfulness?
Dr. Joy: The goal of mindfulness is to shift all of your attention to the present moment, not on the next thought or what happened in the past, only the present.
🌱VSC: What are the simple steps to getting started with mindfulness?
Dr. Joy: One of the easiest ways to get started with mindfulness is to pay attention to your breath… paying attention to how air flows in and out of your body, what sounds does it make, where do you feel in your body when you breathe? You don’t attempt to alter your breathing in any ways, you just want to pay attention to your natural breathing pattern.
It really is that simple. For more on getting started check out mindful.org
Therapy For Black Girls provides mental health information in a way that is relevant and accessible to Black women and aid in destigmatizing mental health. This is done through weekly podcast, blog post, and a directory of therapist in the US and Canada who provide culturally responsive services.
Dr. Joy is a licensed Psychologist in the state of Georgia. Her specialties include working with Black women in both individual and couples counseling. Her areas of interest include break up and divorce recovery, depression, work life balance, relationship skills, and self esteem improvement.