How does mindfulness play a role in your health and wellness?
Have you considered how impactful the practice of mindfulness can be? Mindfulness has been associated with mental benefits such as stress relief or physical benefits such as calming symptoms of auto-immune diseases. But what we would like to share is that mindfulness can bring great changes to everyday life. In the simple moments. When you try to become mindful, you start seeing and interpreting life through a different perspective.
In reality, it is quite a simple concept to grasp. Defined as “the practice of paying attention to just one thing; being in the moment and aware of what you are doing”, mindfulness may not be as easy to apply to our everyday lives. When being mindful, you are aware of your surroundings and your responses to what is going on. You are using all your senses, you are being present and not rushing through or doing everything on auto-pilot. This is when you can truly enjoy and feel grateful for each moment. Think about enjoying a wonderful view of the sea and then sunset. You can feel the the temperature on your skin, you can hear the sounds of the ocean, you can cherish the colors of the sky.
Contrary to popular opinion, mindfulness isn’t about “turning off your thoughts”. It’s about paying attention to each thought that comes to you, and simply observing how it makes you feel. When your mind wanders, you gently bring your attention back to one thing. When you practice that, you are strengthening your ability to focus and concentrate better and for longer periods of time. This will turn into a precious tool for you. A way to calm your mind and body and a way to improve your health and wellness.
Mindfulness can be of great help when you are in your head, worried about the future or situations that are outside of your control. By using mindfulness techniques, you can be more intentional about what you are paying attention to and what you are thinking about. By observing and then changing your thoughts, you can reduce your stress levels and anxiety. Part of the anxiety we feel, is due to the “story” we are often telling ourselves. When in a stressful situation, we often do not see things clearly; reality may be distorted and very negative. Mindfulness-based stress reduction can help with chronic worrying, poor sleep, and irritability.
Have you also considered that practicing mindfulness can be life-changing when dealing with pain? If you are suffering from chronic pain, and it suddenly gets worse, you are not in a mindful state or focused on the present. You are solely noticing how the pain is getting worse and more intense. Your negative thoughts and perhaps your fear about what you are feeling get in the way. But here is how it can get better! When you are fully present, fully aware of what is going on, you can begin to see the change. As you breathe in and as you exhale, you can slowly start to settle and soften the area that is in pain, which may actually reduce some of the pain. Mindfulness will bring you to a place where you can respond to the questions and worries running through your head, through a more positive mindset.
Mindfulness can take you a long way with improving your emotional intelligence as well, which is the ability to perceive, understand and express emotions in ways that are appropriate to the situation and context. When present and in the moment, you can be more aware and more thoughtful of how you speak and respond. When having a difficult conversation, practice taking a few deep breaths before responding. Settle in and consider what it is you’d like to say and which would be the best way to do that.
It all starts with taking small steps and wanting to see the change in yourself! Choose a place where you can be free of interruptions and try spending a just a few minutes in peace and quiet, simply paying attention to your breathing. This process takes time, but it can be life changing! Are you ready to take the leap and make the change?