By Dr. Karla Evans and Dr. Veronica Tetterton, co-founders of Anticipate Joy
Spring is finally here! The change in season inspires motivation for a refreshing change in our environments and moods. Spring is often associated with cleaning and re-organization of our homes. But today we would like to encourage thoughtful consideration to setting aside some time to declutter your mind. By getting rid of stress, anxiety, racing thoughts, or negativity that you may be holding on to, you create a refreshing space for peace, joy, and enjoyment to settle in, and we have the perfect strategy to help. This month we would like to feature a couple of mindfulness strategies to help you gain greater perspective and peace of mind.
So what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is an integrative mind-body strategy to help manage your thoughts, feelings, and mental health. Research shows mindfulness helps relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and improve mental health. Here are a couple of easy ways to tap into mindfulness.
Find a quiet place 10 to 20 feet in length and begin to walk slowly. Focus on the experience of walking, being aware of the sensations of standing and the subtle movements that keep your balance. When you reach the end of your path, turn and continue walking, maintaining awareness of your sensations.
- Come to the table with an appetite — but not when ravenously hungry. If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get anything in your stomach that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food.
- Start with a small portion. It may be helpful to limit the size of your plate to nine inches or less.
- Appreciate your food. Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you're enjoying it with.
- Bring all your senses to the meal. When you're cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to color, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings.
- Take small bites. It's easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn't full. Put down your utensil between bites.
- Chew thoroughly. Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food. (You may have to chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times, depending on the food.) You may be surprised at all the flavors that are released.
- Eat slowly. If you follow the advice above, you won't bolt your food down. Devote at least five minutes to mindful eating before you chat with your tablemates.
We hope that these strategies help to declutter your mind, but if you are in need of more assistance and would like to speak to a licensed mental health professional to help, we want to remind you that TAFP values your emotional health and they have invested in online professional counseling with Anticipate Joy so that you can have easy access to licensed professional therapists in the convenience of your own home and on your own schedule. Access TAFP's special discounts with Anticipate Joy.
TAFP has purchased a bulk of sessions making online therapy available to you at a significantly reduced rate of $35 per session when you use the TAFP access. These sessions are available for active and resident members.
Access the Anticipate Joy service
5 easy steps to get started
- 1. Get Access. Use the customized scan code or this link to access your organization’s mental health benefits.
- 2. Complete a brief intake. Answer a few questions about you.
- 3. Purchase session(s). Take advantage of the low TAFP member rate. Purchase up to four sessions.
- 4. Select a therapist. Review available therapists using filters and request a therapist that best fits your needs.
- 5. Pick a time. After the therapist approves your request, select an appointment time that works for you and your therapist.