BRAIN HEALTH | 3.7.2017 | BY KYLA PEARCE, MPH, RYT, CBIS AND ABBIE ELDRIGE, MS, CCC-SLP
With the arrival of National Brain Injury Awareness Month, we are offering many efforts to raise the public consciousness about TBI and the importance of loving your brain. One of the most important ways each of us can support our brain health or healing following a TBI is by developing mindfulness.
Mindfulness means being aware of your present experience with curiosity and kindness. Our minds tend to get stuck on what we wish we could change in the past or what we’re worried about in the future. Because we can’t control the past or future, these thought patterns can lead us to react unwisely and cause ourselves and others unnecessary suffering. Mindfulness is a powerful tool for interrupting this cycle by training our mind to pay attention to what’s happening now with curiosity and kindness.
Like many new techniques, incorporating mindfulness into daily life takes practice and patience. As a beginning exercise, bring your full attention to the feelings and sensations of an activity within your daily routine (such as walking or brushing your teeth). As you gain more experience with these everyday experiences, you may wish to expand your practice to incorporate breathing techniques and meditation. These practices deepen the mind-body connection and can have profound benefits on health and wellbeing.
Individuals with TBI have expressed that practicing mindfulness has improved their ability to recognize when they are feeling anxious. This awareness helps them notice when to use relaxation techniques, such as breathing, to find a place of calm within a moment of tension.