Mindful Place Counseling & Stress Reduction Denise Gour, LCSW 503.860.1227
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Meditation Coaching

The Benefits of Meditation and Daily Mindful Awareness

Links to Recorded Meditations

     Life is a busy experience with lots of ups and lots of downs and mostly the in-betweens.  What makes life so stressful depends less on the ups and downs and much more on where we focus our thoughts.  If we turn our attention to the future -- fixing, planning, arranging, predicting or the past -- judging, analyzing, reviewing, criticizing etc. we become entrenched in thoughts about what happened already or may happen in the future -- which invites in stress-related thinking.  Although our minds love certainty, it's not often that there's an immediate resolution to these kinds of thoughts.  Nothing wrong with planing and evaluating, but after a few times around the track we get stuck with diminishing returns. 

     Fortunately, for most of us, the immediate present moment is usually just fine.  By landing ourselves in the here and now, we can get a welcome break from the treadmill of repeated concerns and worries.  

     In fact, each time we step out of future and past thinking, just by noticing our breath, our footsteps, the sounds around us, the smells, the tastes, the light, colors -- in other words, the present moment, we get a free mini-vacation from our stress focused thoughts. No passport required!

Try it now! 

Check in. As you read this pause to simply notice your current mood state, how fast or slow the thoughts are going and the overall sensations in the body.    

Shift attention to your feet and see what you notice there.

  •    Temperature - warm/cool/neutral?  Texture - smooth, bumpy? Dry or a little moist?
  •    Notice the sensations in each of your toes. Can you detect sensation in each middle toe?
  •    Are your toes and heels feeling shoes? socks? slippers?  Where do you feel a pressure from these? 

Shift attention now to noticing your hands. 

  • Are the sensations in the index finger pad on your left hand different from the ones on the index finger on your right hand? How different do the palms feel from the tops of your hands? 
  • Or are they the same?  How so?
  • Where are you detecting the sensation of gravity in either hand? 
  • Can you feel a ring on any finger?  Close your eyes and notice if you feel its presence.

 Now exploring breathing with present-focused awareness

  • Starting by bringing your attention to the nostrils.  One side more open than the other?
  • Feeling the temperature shift from in-breath to out-breath? Is there a sound with each breath?
  • Shifting your attention to the back of your throat.  Feeling the sensations of breath there?  Where does the sensation begin and end?  What shape is the patch of sensation there?
  • Now sensing the breath at the chest and upper torso.  Where do you feel clothing moving against your skin?  What body parts are moving?  The same ones or different ones on the in and out breaths?
  • Lastly, shifting your attention down to the belly, right at the navel.  Place a hand there and feel the belly pressing into the palm when breathing in and drawing away as you breathe out. 
  • Experimenting with drawing the breath deeply into the belly first and then feeling the chest rise. What do you notice?  This is called belly breathing and it's our most natural and relaxed breath!

Checking In Again -- anything change in the mood, the pace of the thoughts, the body?

 

 

 

 

Denise Gour LCSW  Mindful Place Counseling and Stress Reduction