You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf
Living through these uncertain times, the rapidly changing environment can sometimes take a toll on our mental health. Here at Wavecare, we know it isn’t always easy to be proactive in looking after yourself. Pari Balsara-Mistry, Provisional Psychologist and Counsellor here at Wavecare, takes us through what mindfulness is and why it can be beneficial for looking after your mental health.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
COVID-19… A familiar term that has dominated every news channel, social conversation and workplace meeting. In the wake of the global pandemic, people have encountered a multitude of challenges but several individuals have sought resilience. Many have channelled their energies towards creative endeavours, finding new hobbies, connecting (virtually) with loved ones and ‘trying to be mindful.’
So, what exactly is mindfulness?
Simply put, mindfulness is living in the now, or in the present. When we are mindful, we become aware and conscious of things around us and within us. Mindfulness is the intentional act of paying attention and being completely engaged with whatever is happening around us.1
So, in a world where we often experience “MINDFULLness” how does Mindfulness help? Extensive research on mindfulness has shown that when people are not actively or deliberately paying attention to something, our brains “switch off” or flip into “default mode.” In default mode, our minds are inundated with criticism, self-judgment, negative chatter and worry. Researchers also call this “operating in auto-pilot” .2 In contrast to default mode, when we purposefully pay attention to things, we activate our senses. This helps eliminate elements of worry, judgment and self-criticism. The practice of mindfulness may be challenging in the beginning but over time, it helps us develop curiosity, acceptance and a greater sense of awareness.3
Ray Paterson, one of our counsellors, recently conducted a successful mindfulness workshop online where eager participants were introduced to the foundations of mindfulness. The workshop centred on the simple practice of “the breath;” an involuntary response we often take for granted. Focussing on the breath through Ray’s guided practice was well received by the participants. Following the session, there was an active discussion where people shared their experiences, the benefits and challenges of the exercise.
“And now; more than ever, I find the need to connect; both internally and externally to my senses that remain dormant.” Pari Balsara-Mistry- Wavecare Provisional Psychologist and Counsellor
Free Online Sessions
If you’re interested in finding out more about mindfulness, Wavecare regularly run free online sessions. Find out when the next session is taking place and register your interest here: Wavecare Events
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For the past 40 years, Wavecare has been helping the people in the City of Monash cope with their mental health struggles through affordable and effective counselling and support services. If you are currently experiencing mental distress in any aspect of your life – work, personal, or otherwise – then it’s important to get in touch with professional support. Contact us on (03) 9560 6722.