Here and Now

I did two intake interviews for DBT today. Got me into the mind-set and I decided to take out my teaching notes.

I think somewhere along the line I shared that we start each module with a review of mindfulness. Just found a quote that says (paraphrasing): “Levels of feelings of well-being are related to how often your mind is actually on what you are doing.” In other words, the more mindful you are the more well-being you feel (Jennifer R. Wolkin, 2014).

So let’s start with a definition of well-being. According to Merriam Webster: “well-being is the state of being happy, healthy or successful.” I sort of think most of us reading this page would like a little more of that state.

I know I would. For as healthy a self-concept as I have, there are days I am miserable and struggling. Those days one of my favorite thoughts is there has to be a better way to live my life. I am OBVIOUSLY doing something wrong. I just can’t figure out what it is. Life should be more emotionally and financially rewarding. It should not be such a struggle. It should be more fun!

The problem is I am actually doing OK. I just ruminate about things I cannot change.

Rumination, according to Wikipedia, is the compulsively focused attention on the causes and possible negative consequences of a situation. It has its roots once again in Latin. It is related to the word for “cows chewing their cud”. Creatures that swallow food but then bring it back up to chew again are ruminant animals. Not very attractive an image but it is an apt analogy.

In ruminant animals the process is necessary to digest some tough vegetation. It is not necessary in human thought and emotions. It is in fact dangerous for your mental and social well-being.

Dwelling on the negative, simply put, is not good for you! Nor does anyone want to be around someone who is always worried and down.

Many experts are saying mindfulness is the cure for rumination. Extrapolating from that, it can also be a pretty good treatment for depression and other nastiness.

Mindfulness says to focus on the here and now. Not the past and not the future. We have minimal control over the past and the future so there is little sense in worrying about them. The only part of time we have any chance of influencing is now.

I am not saying not to plan and prepare. That is not what mindfulness means. Long-term goals are great but we work in and focus on things in the present to get there.

So, yeah. Mindfulness keeps us working on the present task. It keeps us from ruminating on the past and future, which we cannot control and it increases feelings of well-being as well as decreasing feelings of depression.

The Buddha, the philosopher and teacher formerly know as Prince…Siddhartha Gautama ?, said we are to walk when we walk and eat when we eat. And that, at core, is mindfulness.

Think about what you are doing now, at this place, at this moment. That is the path to greater feelings of well-being.

Next: Bingo

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