Our minds are a complex thing, and so often can our thoughts deviate into negativity and fear of possible future outcomes or circumstances, that it takes us away from what is happening right now.
We’ve discussed in previous articles the impact of negative thoughts and how they can affect our daily lives.
By being an advocate for and actively practicing mindfulness through meditation, one can build up strong enough conscious thought to not allow negative and fearful thoughts to affect them.
Mindfulness benefitsThe benefits of Mindfulness are numerous and significant.
Just by taking a little time out of your day to focus on yourself and your current state, consistent practice has shown to:
- Reduce stress levels
- Increase self-awareness
- Help people respond effectively to challenging emotional, cognitive, and behavioral processes.
- Increases creative functions within the brain
- Helps to center the body’s rhythmic attributes
- Lower blood pressure
- Enhance one’s cognitive state
Really, the benefits are indisputable!
Mindfulness and meditationFor many people when they hear the word Mindfulness, they think Meditation.
If you’re interested in learning how to practice mindfulness through meditation, HERE is a great article that goes in-depth into the meditation practice.
But this isn’t for everyone. Sitting uncomfortably, preferably cross-legged, for an extended period, focusing on breathing, while trying to ignore everything else around you…
Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.
Most people, especially those entering their golden years, want no part in it.
But Mindfulness is a process of awareness and focus, and meditation is just one way of learning to cultivate this state.
The act of meditation might be how a person may choose to practice mindfulness, among other activities to engage the mind-body connection, but, it’s not the only way.
Mindfulness without meditationIf you are curious about Mindfulness, yet you are reluctant or not interested in meditation, there is another way to get a taste of what Mindfulness might bring to you.
I like to encourage my clients who are not interested in meditation to engage in the following as an experiment:
For the next four days, set the alarm on your smartphone four times per day.
For example, it may be when you wake up, at morning tea, at afternoon tea, and before dinner.
When the alarm rings, use it as a reminder for one of the following (you may choose to focus on one of each for the whole day or one of these per each day; it’s entirely up to you):
Experiment 1: Pause, looking within, and ask yourself:“What is here?”
“Can I be with it?”
“Can I let it be?”
This could be regarding thoughts, feelings, behaviors, sensations, sounds, or any experience that is grabbing you at that time.
Experiment 2: Pause and for 3 minutes (or 40 breaths):Notice your breath.
What is it doing?
How does it feel?
Is it fast or slow?
Is it cold or warm?
Experiment 3: Pause and scanFor the next few moments, scan your whole body, starting from the tip of your head, to the tip of your toes.
Gently allow any part you notice to soften.
Notice the head, neck, shoulders, torso, arms, legs, feet, fingers and toes.
Experiment 4: Pause and noticeNotice the activity you are engaged in.
How does it affect your posture? Your breath? Your mind?
What sensations is it generating?
In just 4 days, you will start to become more alert to yourself, your feelings in the present time, and what’s happening around you.
While these are just some suggestions, you could, in fact, bring that curiosity of mind to many daily activities like brushing your teeth, or sipping on a cup of tea, walking to your office or when you are eating your lunch.
Is mindfulness for you?I hope this was easy enough for anyone to try and experience.
Remember though, this is just an experiment.
I encourage you to take part in it for yourself, to see if the experiences it provides are in any way beneficial to you.
The exercises in this experiment are what we consider the informal practice of mindfulness, which is perfectly fine, especially if it’s your first time trying it.
Formal practice is what most people recommend, and you may eventually be motivated to try it by joining a local community class near you or online practice.
But if you are not convinced yet, try this experiment first and see how Mindfulness suits you.
Mindfulness is a muscle, and just like any other muscle in our body, the more you use it, the stronger it will become, and in time it may help in shifting away from unhealthy thoughts and habits.
Next Steps…Are you going to try the experiment?
Give it a try and leave us a comment below with your thoughts, feelings or emotions that YOU experienced in the experiment.
We hope these tips provide you with some insights and assistance to living your most brain healthy life.
Please also visit www.BrainFitResorts.com for more blogs like this one