Patients often ask, "Is there anything I can do to heal or feel better?" YES! The best tools aren't an exotic new drug or a detailed exercise regime -- its all in your mind. Healing begins with an essential quality of awareness and perceiving called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a term borrowed by psychology from the spiritual path of the Buddhas, but the science supports mindfulness as a helpful piece of our own healing from many traumas. We use the term mindfulness to describe that moment-to-moment focus where you have your complete attention on the experience before you. This is easiest to think about when the experience is happy like marrying the love of your life, holding your child for the first time or an incredible vacation sunset.
Difficult situations like hearing that you have cancer or that your job is going away are harder for us to manage mindfulness. Often our feelings of judgment, opinion and fear rush in to fill that space and defend us from the experience. We're trying to fight against the bad or threatening experience, which is a pretty natural desire. Unfortunately, that desire to fight the situation immediately means we become tense. We take a stance and then begin focusing on that divide between us and "it."
Mindfulness sounds pretty simple -- be aware of right now. Okay, you've got that, you're reading a blog entry on it. But truly being in a mindful state requires a non-judgmental observation of your thoughts, and feelings and then accepting those things without attaching any importance to them.
This kind of observation and acceptance without injecting our negative self-talk, societal training or other input takes time and practice. Afterall, we've spent a lifetime learning what is "good" or "bad" and having opinions about everything from food to careers to pets.
Being in the moment, finding your place with mindfulness, brings about a wealth of tools for you to use in healing sexual wounds, personal growth, health and emotional well -being. Not to mention stress relief!
Sherri Aikin is a Fellow of Integrative Medicine, Nurse Practitioner, Sex Counselor, Mindfulness Facilitator, and Life Coach.
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