In my practice (and in my life!) I find myself working with lots of experiential avoidance. In other words – lots of the folks I work with find emotions painful and use coping strategies to avoid feeling their emotions. These strategies can include drinking, detaching, intellectualizing, over-eating, over-exercising, or doing just about anything in complete excess to keep themselves compartmentalized. The media and cultural messages of quick fixes and instant gratification don’t help. We keep going going going on autopilot until we hit a threshold and our dissatisfaction with this cycle makes itself apparent. So then what in the world can we do to start checking in with ourselves?
Mindfulness meditation is one great option.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, developer of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), says that mindfulness meditation “gives you a taste of what it really means to be a human BEING, rather than a human DOING.”
There are a million ways to learn about mindfulness, and if you are interested please contact me for some in-depth guidance. But for now, I want to offer this great app I recently learned about called Stop, Think & Breathe. This app guides us to check in with our sensations and increase our clarity of how we are doing mentally, physically, and emotionally. It then creates a tailored guided meditation program based on how we report we are doing. Wow. Check it out! You can use this on your iphone, andriod, or on the web.