Mind | Practice | Mindfulness | 10th December 2021 | Virtual Wire
We're told that our thoughts create our reality, which means it's up to us to craft the future we want. But all too often, it feels like we're running around in circles.
We worry about the past and fret about the future, but neither is any more or less reliable than they were yesterday or will be tomorrow. If you want to take control of your thoughts and achieve success, happiness, and fulfilment in life, you might need some help..This ancient Buddhist technique has been shown to increase productivity by 40% with just 15 minutes of practice each day! Even better? Mindfulness can help with mental conditions like depression and anxiety. Here's everything you need to know.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a meditation technique that trains the mind to be non-judgemental, and more focused on the present moment. It also means being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations in a relaxed but attentive way. That's it! Let's look at how mindfulness can help you achieve success.
The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness techniques have been shown to have huge health benefits, including anti-depressant effects. They've also been proven to reduce anxiety and pain relief in patients with chronic pain conditions such as arthritis. Mindfulness can train the mind's ability to focus, even under pressure. As a result, people who practice mindfulness skills tend to make better decisions and are more resilient in the face of stress.
Mindfulness can also help with the mind-body connection. Mindful people experience improved physical health and work morale, while they're also more able to cope with stressful situations. And if you have a mental condition like depression or anxiety, a mindful person is less likely to be bothered by their symptoms.
Mindfulness may improve brain function in three main ways:
It increases blood flow throughout the brain, which makes it easier for neurons to communicate with each other.
It stimulates alpha waves in the brain, which increase focus and awareness.
It enhances cortical connectivity, which increases the amount of information the brain can process.
How to practice Mindfulness
So how do you practice mindfulness? There are many ways, since you can do it basically during every moment of your day. Here are some ways to get started.
Sit comfortably, with your back upright and your feet on the floor if possible. Take a few deep breaths to bring yourself into a calm state of mind and body. Consciously notice your breathing as it enters and leaves your body, while maintaining an awareness of what's going on around you.
Mindfully stand up and move around when you're in a public place (e.g., in a traffic jam or at a shopping centre). As you move, notice what your body is doing and how it feels. Your attention should be fully focused on each moment.
Mindfully eat your food when you're eating with other people. Notice that food enters your mouth, passes through the centre of your tongue, goes down your throat and into your stomach. Then notice what happens as you chew, swallow and digest the food.
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Mindfully wash dishes, clean or tidy up around the house – whatever's going to happen next (e.g., putting away a cupboard or taking out the garbage). Clear distractions should be avoided by looking at what needs doing only once – without looking back.
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To practice mindful listening, give the person you're speaking to your full attention. Be fully aware of their body language and facial expressions, as well as any emotions or feelings they're trying to convey. And remember that no matter how much we try and hide it when we're upset or frustrated, it always shows on our faces.
When you walk around, look at what's happening around you. Avoid looking at things or people in a judgemental way, which is the moment mindfulness goes out of the window! Focus on a single object (e.g. a tree or a street sign) and notice what happens as you pass it. Take note of the colour, the shape and any emotions or self-judgements you might have about the object.
Mindfully do yoga poses (e.g., stretches and bends), focusing on your breathing and trying to empty your mind of any thoughts. Each pose should be held for at least 3-5 deep breaths before moving on to another stretch.
Commit yourself to writing something from your heart every day (you could write a book if you wanted!). Creativity is one of the many ways to calm your mind by doing something you really love to do.
Limitation of Mindfulness
The downside of mindfulness is that it can't come quickly, easily or naturally. You can't 'just think happy thoughts and everything will be ok'. That's not how it works! Mindfulness takes deep concentration, time and practice. It's almost impossible to achieve unless you're willing to put in the time.
The way I see it, there are only two possible outcomes when things get too tough. Either you can either run around with your mind in a state of chaos, or you can give up. I know which one I'd rather choose.
The Importance of Mindfulness
Mindfulness has been shown to help people achieve a variety of benefits, including: Mental and physical health – especially when it comes to helping patients with chronic pain conditions such as arthritis. Improved focus and attention – making people more resilient in the face of stress. Better decision-making – both in personal life and at work. Enhanced mental alertness, attention and focus – all leading to better grades on tests and exams. Lower levels of stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue among schoolchildren.
Improved physical health and wellbeing – improving the ability to cope with stressors and chronic conditions such as arthritis. Enhanced brain function – with mindfulness training having been linked to increases in cortical connectivity and blood flow throughout the brain. On a final note, I'd love to encourage you to try and incorporate some mindfulness into your daily routine. It doesn't take much effort and it can have a huge impact on your health, happiness and wellbeing.