Let's Talk About The Best FREE Mindful Tool

anxiety breathing depression meditation mindfulness ocd

I often get asked by clients and the CBT SCHOOL community for tips and tools to manage anxiety.  Luckily, there are a lot of scientifically proven treatment modalities and tools to help people suffering from and managing depression, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and other mental health struggles.  However, there is one tool that we can use any time that we would like to.  And guess what?  IT’S FREE! It’s the best free mindful tool! 

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Before we get into this, I want to take a moment to look at things abstractly.  Hear me out with this, as I promise it will make sense once I explain this.

Let’s say that I would like to be a wonderful mom.  I want my daughter to think that I am the freaking best mom there ever was.

The thing is, this doesn’t automatically happen!  Yes, I am her mother, but that does not mean that we will automatically have a wonderful relationship and be great friends with each other.  Just because I am her mother does not even mean that she will like me.

It takes work for me to be a freaking rockstar mom.  I am going to have to nurture my daughter and out relationship to make a lasting impact on her heart and well-being.

I am going to have to listen to her when she is hurting and hear her pains.  When things are hard, I will need to sit with her.  My daughter will need me to be compassionate and hold her hand when she makes mistakes.  She’ll need me to wipe her tears when she cries.  Most of all, my daughter will need me to allow her—rather than deny—sadness, anger, and brattiness.  I will need to make space for her feelings and really be with her.  

If I want a wonderful, nurturing, and healing relationship with my daughter in the long-term, I cannot cheat and do it the fastest way.  She won’t think that I’m a rockstar mom just because I buy her the newest iPad and the best clothes or hire the greatest nanny to take care of her all of the time.  This is fast and will make her happy in the short-term, but they won’t establish the amazing relationship with my daughter long-term.  Buying her things and keeping her occupied will not make her feel deeply seen or loved by me. 

I have to actually sit with my daughter if I want a health and lasting relationship with her.  I have to be with her.  I cannot disown her because she is being naughty or is angry.  I cannot just send her to the nanny to fix her when she is not cleaning her room or when she she is sad or angry.  I cannot buy her a trip to Disneyland and send her with the nanny, but expect her to feel loved by me because I set the trip up and paid for it.  If I behave in this way, she will think that I am only here when it is easy or when she is good.  She will not feel worthy when she is dealing with difficult emotions.  This is where the growth and healing occurs.

So, here is where this week’s lesson comes into play.  You cannot cheat when it comes to your mindfulness practice.  Just as I do, you have to do the actual “being with.”  This is true for our relationship with ourselves as well. It is no different.  We all want to feel worthy of being sat with and be deeply understood.  One of the most healing experiences we can be given is to feel deeply seen.  The big question for this podcast episode is as follows: Do you try to cheat when it comes to actually spending time with yourself and deeply sitting with your experience?  I bet you’re saying “Yes!”  It’s very common for us to cheat ourselves on just “being” and on self-care.  We do it all of the time.

Now, let’s talk about how we befriend ourselves.  Let’s talk about the best FREE mindful tool that I discussed above.  Here goes…the best free mindful tool is your breath.

We often dismiss breath as one of the most helpful mindful tools and we carry on desiring easier and more supercharged tools.  In the hopes of simply honoring our “being” and “spending time with” ourselves, we do a short breathing meditation during this podcast.  The best free mindful tool really is returning to our breath.

I want to let you know that it is okay if you are able to not be fully present.  I want you to practice non-judgment if you're not fully present.  If you go off track, just gently bring your attention back.  Try not to label the experience as good or bad.  Notice that you are honoring yourself by actually spending time with you.

Before we finish up, let's do a quick Inquiry on what might be getting in the way of you returning to your breath:  What thoughts did you have that came up and gave you permission to not do this? 

  1. “This is a waste of time”  --> This comes from decades and centuries of productivity that has been trained in us.  We have been trained and pushed towards a quick fix, which doesn't make the most impact long-term.  
  2. “This is too hard.  There must be something easier!”  -->  This is where we have to come back, catch this, and ask what kind of human we expect ourself to be.  Are you this fancy human that does not have crappy feelings?  Are you immune to the human experience?  As humans, we all live through really hard and challenging things.  When we honor that, we grow.
  3. “I don’t deserve peace in my life”  -->  We have to be really careful of judgment and how we create stories about how a thought, feeling, or event deems us as undeserving.  This line of thinking is not true and needs to be corrected.
  4. “ This isn’t working”  -->  This is probably the most common one!  It is not the breath's job to rid us of difficult moments.  These tools are here to help you get though difficult moments and tether you down when you feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster.  No matter what you're going through and how hard it is, you have your breath.

Notice these thoughts when they come up, but you do not have to react to them.  Give yourself permission to just “be” with yourself.  You will gain a sense of worth by practicing “being with” your breath because it’s you honoring you.


As a reminder, CBT SCHOOL is offering swag!  We have a variety of t-shirts for men, women, and children, and each item has our very own CBT SCHOOL motto on it: “It’s a beautiful day to do hard thing.”  Check out our swag HERE.


About Kimberley Quinlan

Kimberley Quinlan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Eating Disorders, Panic Disorder and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s).  Kimberley is highly trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with a heavy emphasis on Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), and has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for many years.  Kimberley has a special interest in the integration of mindfulness principles with CBT for OCD, Anxiety Disorders, and Eating Disorders.  Kimberley has experience treating adults, adolescents, and children, and tailors each program to suit the age and cognitive development of each client.  Kimberley has a private practice in Calabasas and Westlake Village. 

For more information, you can find Kimberley at the following:

Website: https://kimberleyquinlan-lmft.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cbtschool/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberleyQuinlanCBTschool/