Life is a gift! YOU have the choice to have a meaningful existence. Say Whaaat?
As you keep on going and adapting and adjusting to a new ‘normal’ (yes, I said it!) thinking about being mindful and living in the moment is not what you need or want. You have heard it as a new trend, the new fad the new way to be. Mindfulness. Meditation. Breathing. Well it is not really ‘New’ just more widely heard of and accepted. What is it anyway? And can it truly make good on the promise of making us happier and of living a life of authenticity?
After all, you have a gazillion things on your mind and you are doing a bazillion (is that a word?) things daily, how can you find the time to stop and reflect and be present in the moments of your life? (awkward silence) Well, living mindfully does not mean you have to sit and be ‘zen’ with Gregorian chants in the backward and church organ music. It is not about breathing deeply and not thinking about anything and fighting thoughts and emotions. (omg, we are not plants)
Living mindfully IS about being aware of EVERYTHING! Your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations both inside and outside. It IS about actively participating mentally, emotionally, and physically in the current moment by deeply connecting and engaging in your life with intention, purpose, and respect for your true self. Now, doesn’t that sound like something you WANT to be doing. Yes, yes it does! Through the daily practice of mindfulness breathing, you can achieve mind and body awareness, explore patterns of behaviors and actions and start making changes to be your best self. (see what I did there).
Mindfulness has its origins in ancient meditation practices and its cultivation of mindfulness has roots in Buddhism which include some type of meditation technique that helps shift your thoughts away from your usual preoccupations toward an appreciation of the moment and thus a larger perspective on life.
The founder of ‘modern-day’ Mindfulness is Jon Kabat-Zinn who founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the later 1970’s and helped bring the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine. He created the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program which is a well-defined and systematic client-centered approach which uses intensive meditation as the core of a program to teach people how to take better care of themselves and live healthier and more adaptive lives. Researchers theorize that Mindfulness Meditation promotes metacognitive awareness, decreases rumination, and enhances attentional capacities through gains in working memory. The cognitive gains in turn contribute to effective emotional regulation strategies.
Meditation quiets your mind and reprograms your brain, body, and spirit. Your biology.
You can practice mindfulness and live mindfully by engaging in every day mundane (yes, boring) things you normally do. Like what? Well, washing dishes, eating, showering, waiting in line, star gazing. (you get the point, insert your idea here). You can start small and simple and build up to longer and more profound practice. Get started today living a more Mindful Life.
Make it part of your Routine:
Everyone has some form of a morning routine and what best way to start your day then practicing some mindfulness to get you going. Take the time (start small, minutes even, breathing deeply but calmly and steady) to set your intention and your attitude for the day. Take the time to be with yourself and empower yourself before tackling your daily challenges. Start the day with “I am grateful for this life and I value myself and my well-being. I will conquer the day with patience and love and kindness”
Be Gentle with Yourself:
Starting new things is hard. Be patient and kind with yourself. Practicing Mindfulness does not happen overnight. There is no wrong way to practice being mindful. It is important to celebrate the time and effort you do put into it. The more you practice the more benefits you will notice in your life. For example, less anxiety and stress, enhanced emotional regulation and improved attention.
Focus on one task at a time:
Take on daily tasks with full awareness. Take your time and do not rush. Give each task your full attention, examining it, and even talking through it. For example, if you are washing dishes really wash the dishes, watch the water run down the plate, and the way the soap bubbles, and how the grease separated and is washed away. Really focus on it. Train your brain to be present in that one moment.
Use all your Senses:
Living mindfully involves using every sense you have. Wherever you are fully engaged in your environment if able. Allow your senses to have your full attention. Explore the light that shines through the doorway, the grass that is growing on the sidewalk, the flowers that bloomed between the weeds. Examine it without judgment or preconceived ideas. Just observe. Take a breath and focus on the smells and sounds of the environment.
Let me know if this blog article was beneficial and informative to you and if this is something you want to start incorporating in your life. Nourish Wellness offers ongoing Therapeutic Mindfulness Events. Please visit our Event Page for upcoming dates and details.