By Hazel Field Melmed, LCSW 

A recent “Time Magazine” cover story explained the value of “mindfulness”, and they described the health benefits that come from being “in the moment.” In thinking about this important state of mind, it occurred to me that perhaps, as spring arrives we experience mindfulness more than any other time of the year.

One can’t help but notice the contrast from the bleak winter. We become aware of the new season. We notice lawns turning green, blossoms appearing on the trees, new leaves budding, and bulbs bursting forth from the thawing ground. We breathe the warmer fresh scented air, and we are grateful that winter is over. This process is an example of “mindfulness.” We have paused from the distractions of life, to appreciate and focus on the dramatic changes around us. Perhaps we actually focus on the beauty of the flowers, their colors, and their exquisite patterns, shapes and scents.

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. We can use this time to stop and take a fresh look at our own lives, appreciating that we can also renew and start afresh.

Many of us have suffered loss or struggle with ongoing illness or depression, anxiety and stress. We often become “stuck” or immobilized by these situations or feelings.

Being “in the moment” is a simple concept, but it isn’t always easy to implement; but I believe that it becomes easier with practice and can be integrated into everyday life. It can be tremendously helpful, because it reduces stress and hastens the recovery process. It requires an intentional focus on where one is. For example, if you were in a park and were paying attention to your surroundings, noticing the sounds, the smells, the place, and the textures around you. This simple exercise is the essential part of “mindfulness”. This is when we are truly in the moment.

This concept was beautifully expressed by the Dali Lama’s famous words of wisdom:

“We are preoccupied with the past and focused on the future, and often miss the importance of the present.”

By incorporating the concept of “mindfulness” and being present, we can step back, out of the “stuckness” of our issues or problems, look at where we are and appreciate what we have, knowing that we have survived another day and look forward to a new beginning. Just as the seasons pass with rebirth, so too can we take a fresh look, and appreciate the gifts we have and blossom.

For more information on stress reduction and mindfulness practices, please contact Hazel Field Melmed, LCSW.

Hazel Field Melmed, LCSW, has been a member of The Therapist Group at Maria Droste Counseling Center for 21 years. She specializes in working with individuals and couples, helping them deal with relationship issues, depression, life transitions, and trauma. She teaches stress reduction techniques and uses EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming) and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).