The benefits of mindfulness
Do you practice being mindful?
"The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion"; Thich Nhat Han
Today as women we are living busier, faster lives, as we continue to pile more and more onto our plates, careers, families, kids, social lives, staying fit, eating healthy food, social pressures, always planning further and further ahead, thinking of the next task before we finish the first.
In all this stress and activity do you ever feel like you are just going through the motions? Getting it all done perhaps, but ask yourself this….are you ever really PRESENT?
Enter the the art of mindfulness, a simple yet extremely effective practice that is taking the world by storm, and for good reason, just a few of the benefits of implementing even a short mindfulness practice in our everyday lives can include:
1. Decrease in stress levels (we all need this right)
2. Improve our attention
3. Reduction in anxiety and depression
4. Increased neuroplasticity (repetition helps our brain create new pathways and habits)
5. Increased self awareness and regulation of our emotions
So what is it and how do we implement it?
In short, mindfulness is a form of meditation traditionally buddhist, however you do not have to sit cross legged on the floor for an hour in silence to reap the rewards! It has been significantly modified to suit our modern needs by people such as John Kabbat Zin the creator of MBSR (mindfulness based stress relief) and it all begins with the breath.
The simplest way to begin your journey to mindfulness and living a present life is by using the breath as a reminder or anchor to take a few moments each day when you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or if you catch yourself not being present.. 5 minutes or less is often enough.
Become aware of your breathing, stay still, close your eyes if you wish, and follow your in breathe being fully aware of what it is, feeling it travel through your nostrils, lungs and body, and when you are ready follow the out breath, again fully aware that you are breathing out and feeling it travel out of your lungs and nostrils, repeat this process until you feel your stress levels
drop and then try to maintain your presence, everytime you find yourself ruminating or stressing excessively simply bring yourself back to the breath.
There are many ways you can practise being mindful such as focusing on a particular object or task you are doing, just like exercising our bodies our brains are the same, we will each take to a certain practise and what works for you is what is best.