Throughout our lives, we face challenges and uncomfortable emotions such as anger, frustration, sadness, worry, guilt, and shame. During these times, we often turn to unhealthy or unhelpful strategies to avoid or numb our emotions. We do this because we often believe that these emotions are “bad”, “negative”, or “wrong”. When we attempt to resist, or fight our experiences and emotions, we often perpetuate or magnify those uncomfortable experiences.

Uncomfortable emotions and challenges are a normal part of life. Mindfulness aims to shift the way we relate to our emotions and our experience. John Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, defines mindfulness as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” Mindfulness teaches us to observe the experience without judgement, simply noticing what you are feeling in the present moment and how it feels in your body. Although the present moment may be uncomfortable, by acknowledging its presence without judgement, the discomfort doesn’t last.

Mindfulness teaches us to accept our current experience, which allows the space for us to make choices that align with our values and goals. We develop a pause button so that we can respond to our situation rather than react. In the here and now we have the power to determine our next steps rather than have our experiences dictate our lives. In this moment, we can take action to create a meaningful and fulfilling life.

There are many ways to practice mindfulness at home and in everyday life. Examples include: breathing exercises, mindfulness meditations, mindful eating, walking, and yoga.

8 Week Mindfulness Skills Group

The 8 Week Mindfulness Skills Group is a course designed to introduce and cultivate a personal mindfulness practice. The purpose is to learn and practice mindfulness skills in a supported and guided space that will be helpful in your daily life. The group is structured over 8 weeks to build a solid foundation and develop a daily practice. Each week will include educational materials, experiential mindfulness exercises, and sharing of experiences. No prior meditation experience required. This is not a replacement for individual therapy; however, you may find that it could be a beneficial supplement to your current treatment plan.

The 8 Week Mindfulness Skills Group is offered separately for adults and adolescents, with groups starting several times throughout the year. Many major insurance plans are accepted and may cover part of the cost of the group sessions.

Other Opportunities

Occasionally, Introduction to Mindfulness Workshops are offered to give individuals a taste of the 8 Week Mindfulness Skills Group.

Graduates of the 8 Week Mindfulness Skills Group are welcome to join a periodic “tune up” mindfulness meditation session to support their ongoing practice in community.

(Note: these introductory and “tune up” programs are not covered by insurance)

For more information, including dates of the next group sessions, to schedule an intake assessment, or to make a referral, please call or email Emily Carlson, LCSW-C at 301-428-3557 or emily.carlson@sugarloafcounseling.com