How to Comfort a Gambling Addict… Mindfulness is when a person tries to focus on the present moment and can be used as a tool to reduce stress.
I recently took a group of guys on a mindfulness walk. My instructions to the group were to not talk, use as many of their senses as possible and to stay in the here and now. I conveyed to them that their minds might wander a bit because remaining in the present isn’t always easy. For example one might start thinking about what happened during the day or what the plan is for that night. Don’t worry. This is normal but try to bring yourself back and enjoy the moment.
Before the walk, clients were told to use as many senses as possible. In other words view their surroundings, hear the wind or footsteps, smell the flowers, etc. Focus on the immediate environment. As the group of eight men and myself headed out I thought boy I hope they don’t think this is a bunch of hogwash. But before long I sensed that these men were really into it. As we walked we all tried practicing staying in the moment. I even caught myself drifting into my thoughts about the day but quickly tried to refocus as I had instructed my group to do. No one is perfect and that’s why this activity takes lots of practice. One recent article discusses the principles of mindfulness and how it can reduce stress.
We next returned to the classroom to process our walk. Clients discussed what they experienced. Many of us saw and heard a water fountain. Some heard birds, some noticed the details on the buildings we passed and others indicated that they could smell the newly spread bark mulch. Interestingly, I asked if anyone had thoughts about gambling. Not one person had such thoughts. Although we all wandered away from the present at times it was clear from the feedback why mindfulness can be a tool taught on how to comfort a gambling addict.