Using Mindfulness to Support Emotional Health

Depending on your personal interests and practices, mindfulness may be a large part of what you are already very grounded in. Maybe you are aware of it, are working with it or have no interest in it. For me, using mindfulness to support emotional health can be very powerful.

Contrary to what the word suggests, mindfulness is not necessarily about our minds being ‘full’. Having our thinking selves in perpetual motion with daily to do lists, replaying the day, planning the future, worries, doubts, fears etc. is quite common, Yet, this is not always in our emotional best interest.

Mindfulness is more about being fully present in the current moment.

It involves a conscious act to notice our inner experiences – thoughts, feelings and sensations – without holding onto them or attaching anything to them. This practice is a proven technique to

• reduce stress
• calm hostility and anxiety
• boost optimism and positive thinking
• improve focus
• connect with our inner wisdom

When we experience these, our emotional health can, in turn,

• facilitate improved relationships with ourselves and others
• allow for clarity to choose what is right for us
• empower us to invest our energy in the creation of positive experiences

To explore the connection between mindfulness and emotional health more, let’s first acknowledge that change is a given and really is critical to our growth.

It can also be incredibly scary. When we talk about change, 2 important components are awareness and action. Awareness helps us to realize that things we feel, say and do can get in the way of creating what we really want. Sometimes, these become so habitual for us we might not recognize our power to do things differently. Action is necessary to take us from awareness to change.

Awareness + Action = Change

When we are being mindful, we can become aware of our inner workings. We can start to notice how we are in different situations. Being fully present, we can feel how experiences trigger us in different ways. Our recognition of how we react deep within our beings before we actually act or speak begins to awaken. Rather than letting our minds take over, we can be an observer of how these reactions manifest. Furthermore, we can become clear that these are patterns in our behaviour. Most importantly, we might even become aware of the fact that each day, based on different experiences, those inner sensations and triggers are more sensitive than on other days.

That is the awareness piece.

Past experiences quite often are internalized with a feeling we have attached to those experiences and the perceptions around them. These ‘tapes’ or ‘scripts’, being based on the past, may no longer be relevant. Yet, if we allow our mind to take over, that tape can be quickly accessed in the present. When we react, it is often that tape that is in full gear. We do it repeatedly even if it is ineffective.

When we are being mindful, we create an opportunity to affect that internal dialogue and therefore choose how we would like to respond.

Gently bringing our awareness back to the present moment can provide real time feedback that what we thought was going to happen is not. We can let the event unfold without letting our assumptions and perceptions tell us how we got there or how it is going to play out.

By allowing our inner sensations to move, we allow for flow rather than attachment. We can let go rather than get stuck. When the sensation that IS becomes silence, we can use the power of that moment to change the momentum of any energy moving through us. That tape now can have a different ending.

That is the action piece.

Think of this the next time you get triggered by someone or something. Go within and check in. Maybe you can feel your heart racing, your blood flowing, your skin tingling. Maybe you hear a sound, feel a sensation in your body or notice a smell or a vision. Notice and let go of any temptation to attach a meaning or thought. Breathe. Stay present. From this place, you can affect what happens next.

Is the reaction building what you would like it to be? Is it appropriate for the situation? Will it bring the outcome you would like?

What we believe about ourselves and our capabilities is real to us. No one really sees them directly but they have a large impact on our choices and behaviors. Lasting change comes when we alter these core beliefs through self-awareness. The more we can practice being mindful, the more we can bring awareness to our patterns, see the effect they have on our life and change what we need to.

Using mindfulness to support emotional health is something we can do!

For those of you who work with me using the Nurtured Heart Approach®, the reset is that moment to breathe and stay present. It is the moment when you pause the flow of energy to negativity and shift your perspective. You see what is going right and propel all the energy building in that direction. Then, you are able to communicate, in that moment, a very different connection to whatever is happening. You are able to give the ‘emotional nutrition’ that can grow inherent qualities of greatness.

The challenge of change can be easier with patience, commitment and support. Lasting results is the reward. Let me know how you are using mindfulness to support emotional health in your life !

Marny Elliott is a Nurtured Heart Approach® (NHA) Trainer, Coach and Emotional Health Therapist. She empowers parents, educators etc. to use this effective, heart centered approach to transform behaviour, build relationships and grow the Inner Wealth® of children. In addition, she provides holistic counselling to adults seeking to address defeating patterns and improve their emotional health. Please visit, email or call 250.218.8702.



* indicates required