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the first sip of coffee

For coffee enthusiasts, the first sip of coffee can be one of calmness and warmth. Sitting outside on a cool morning, watching the steam come off the top, noticing the taste of the coffee and the warmth in every sip. Taking a moment to sit and notice the first or fifth sip is mindfulness.

In sessions, I talk about noticing our senses, our bodies, and small moments, all to practice mindfulness and increase self-awareness. Typically when we think of mindfulness our brain goes to meditation, it isn't the only way.

The core concept of mindfulness is the ability to connect to the present moment, physically, mentally and/or emotionally. The benefit of practicing mindfulness is when we are presented with adversity or challenges, we have the ability to slow the moment down and respond to the situation, compared to being pulled around by life and reacting to moments, as if you're just rapidly putting fires out.

A component of mindfulness is not judging the senses or feelings you notice and observe. When we tune into ourselves and ask, what am I feeling? we don't want to then judge whether our reaction or emotion is valid or invalid. We simply just want to notice. Whether we are engaging in mindfulness to regulate big emotions or practicing with our morning cup of coffee, both can be done with a technique called R.A.I.N from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.

Mindfulness Strategy/Skill from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.


R: Recognize

A: Allow

I: Investigate without Judgement

N: Non-Identify

Recognize: When you take a moment to pause, ask yourself "what am I feeling right now?" "where do I feel this in my body?" "what is filling my mind at this moment?" Remember, we aren't pushing away or trying to avoid, we are becoming aware of what is happening to us.

Allow: We want to allow the experience and the emotions to be there we are accepting the emotions as they are. It may be helpful to say out loud, "this is uncomfortable but I'm allowing myself to be fully present."

Investigate: When we take time to investigate without judgement we are taking note of possible factors or reasons we may be feeling a type of way. The key in doing this step is we are not deciding whether a possible reason is good or bad, or valid or invalid, we are just taking note. Be curious and gentle in the investigation step.

Non-Identify/Nurture: When we engage in non-identification we allow the emotion to be an emotion and remain separate from us. We can often get wrapped up in our emotions, intertwined or fused, and by allowing and noticing the emotion as something that will pass we can engage more fully in that process. In conjunction with non-identification, we also want to engage in nurturing and self-compassion. Nurturing ourselves in big emotions may involve positive self-talk, "you got through this emotion, good job" engaging compassionately with ourselves in difficult experiences/emotions.

Mindfulness is a key component in improving mental health and well-being. It helps by reducing the production of cortisol and increasing the production of serotonin, our feel-good chemicals. Taking time to slow down and practice mindfulness, whether it be R.A.I.N, deep breathing, engaging in our 5 senses, etc. can help us feel more in control and better able to move through life.

Additional Resources on Mindfulness:



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