Mindfulness: It’s Not as Hard as You Think
Millions of thoughts enter our minds on a daily basis. Too many of us wake up and are immediately bombarded with the day’s 'to-do' list. That’s not to mention the anxious trembles of whether or not we’ll be able to conquer the day.
Sometimes our anxieties extend far beyond the true gravity of our dilemmas and into a vast and unbearable unknown. Uncertainty hounds a lot of us women and this feeling can be daunting, to say the least.
Why Mindfulness is Vital
It’s a fact that we can’t escape our daily tasks and responsibilities – they’re here to stay whether we like it or not. However, by being more mindful about them we can better manage and find balance in life. This is where the practice of mindfulness can help you through the daily grind.
Mindfulness can benefit your life in several aspects, primarily by helping positivity triumph over negativity and reminding us of the simple wonders of reality. Moreover, this resulting positivity improves the physical aspects of our health, too. For instance, our gut is literally known as our ‘second brain’, so not only can headaches and muscle aches subside with mindfulness, but so can digestive concerns.
Examples of Mind Exercises
It’s natural for our mind to drift. The practice of mindfulness trains our thoughts to stay within the present moment. Narrating habitual activities is one way to train yourself to rely more on the now, rather than on the past or future.
It’s not uncommon for your mind to stray from reality and divert into a spin. Through sensing and a dedicated focus on all the little things you do in the current moment, however, your mind will begin to recognize the positive impact of being present.
Feel the seat while you’re sitting at your desk in front of the computer. Do the same when you're on the couch chatting with a friend. Focus on how it feels or where the seat makes contact with your body. In addition to that, notice the gentle glow of your computer screen or the fine lines on your friend’s face. Zone in on the details. Once you really begin to notice your surroundings, you’ll start to see the beauty in the present moment.
Shallow breathing is a clear indication of heightened stress and anxiety which can lead to mindlessness. When you catch yourself short of breath, inhale more deeply for a count of 10 and see how this can work magic!
Other techniques that help to develop mindfulness are gently massaging your neck and temples or doing some light stretching. These can help you relax and improve your focus.
While doing all of these mindfulness techniques, don’t forget to praise yourself. Say kind things and focus on inspiring thoughts. Positive affirmations have great power. Tell yourself these:
- “You will be successful in your work meeting today.”
- “You are prepared.”
- “You've worked hard for this moment.”
(This list of positive affirmations can go on and on!)
Training your mind is similar to mastering any sport you desire to excel at, any work you wish to improve on, and any musical instrument you aim to perfect – it takes time, patience, and commitment. Eventually, your mind will habitually learn to switch back to the present whenever it wanders.
These exercises will slowly teach you to depart from the stresses in your mind; in turn, you’ll become more conscious of the messages from your body. This paves the way for preventative management and treatment so you won’t have to rely on medications. You’ll pick up on cues from your body before they manifest into something more sinister.
What Is Your Body Trying To Tell You?
It’s not uncommon to throw ourselves into our work routine, come home, analyse how our day went, have dinner, perhaps watch television (or do more work) and then head off to bed. So is there ever a time for you to participate in the things you enjoy outside of work?
Relax. Slow down. Get more sleep. Do more of the things you love. – Is your body starting to tell you all these?
It’s important to find or create time to indulge in the things that you're passionate about. Engaging in these activities instantly pulls you out of mindlessness and into the present moment.
Mindfulness is what our body and mind genuinely need. When we’re truly enjoying something, we tend to be more conscious of the present and give less time to distractions or worries that surface in our minds. We also experience increased physical relaxation and are less prone to burnout and adrenal fatigue.
Are you artistic? Do you love to paint? Go to museums? Travel? Spend time in nature? Socialise with friends?
What you love doesn't have to be extravagant or incredibly time-consuming. Simply allowing an hour or two each week for these can be enough to reduce your habit of unnecessarily worrying about things you can’t control at the moment. Taking the time to allow your body to relish in simple enjoyment – such as exercise, reading, gatherings with friends, or activities that unknowably allow you to remain present – medicates your entire being.
Take the First Step to Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a powerful practice that propels personal growth. Basking in the positivity of your mind is a reward every single person deserves to feel. Embrace your body’s need and desire for change and begin the process of managing your mind. You’ll wake up with less anxiety and stress every morning, and with a more positive outlook of the day ahead!
Want to delve further into the practice of mindfulness and learn how to incorporate it into your daily life? Join our private Happy Hormones Facebook Group where our yogini Tilly shares a number of really effective mindfulness practices. You can also check out her yoga breathing sequence below.