“Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.” ~ Louis L'Amour
Are you battling to get through the day because of stress, anxiety or depression? Maybe you have always been a worrier, always planning, thinking, preparing, and stressing about the future. Or ruminating over past regrets, disappointments, and grievances.
Your thoughts and fears can quickly take on a life of their own – stories become fact, whether they are true or not. Starting the day with a feeling of dread or being on edge can make getting through the day an arduous task.
Contributing to this is the fear that this is going to be with you forever.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is being fully present with what is. It involves acknowledging and accepting your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without judging them. So no matter what comes up it isn’t identified as “good” or “bad”. This process of noticing is done with copious amounts of self-compassion.
Whilst mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation, it's physical and mental health benefits are strongly grounded in research led by Jon Kabat-Zinn, followed by numerous other studies. His Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, launched in 1979, has been rolled out across hospitals, schools, prisons and more, in countless countries across the world.
Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different;
enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will);
being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won't). ~ James Bara
HOW WILL YOU BENEFIT?
♥ Increase Your Emotional Regulation – A consistent mindfulness practice will calm your mind and assist you to better manage your emotions, even with events that would normally trigger you.
Mindfulness keeps the Limbic System (Your Emotional Brain) from hijacking the Neo Cortex (Your Rational Brain). Those moments when you "can't think straight", "overreact", have a "panic attack", or "lose it" are essentially the result of your Rational Brain being overridden. Mindfulness creates new neural pathways in the brain, calming the mind and strengthening your rational brain.
This can help you:
◊ Be more aware of your patterns of behaving and responding
◊ Enjoy more clarity in your thoughts
◊ Feel more relaxed
◊ Have a calmer nervous system
◊ Experience better concentration
♥ Become More Resilient – When you have a regular mindfulness practice you will discover how to sit with discomfort. Stressful situations will become less provoking, and chronic pain can be more easily coped with.
When you are more present you are less likely to interpret events negatively or catastrophy situations. There is an increased capacity to stand-back and just notice what is happening, without needing things to be a certain way – without needing to control outcomes.
Peace – It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. ~ Unknown
♥ Befriending You – Mindfulness strengthens the part of the brain governing self-awareness. This provides a wonderful opportunity for personal growth and a deeper understanding of yourself.
Of course it can be a bit scary connecting more with your true self. The fear is "What will I discover." "What if there is no real substance to who I am?" "What if other people don't like the real me?" "What if I don't like what I find?"
If you are experiencing these feelings, be encouraged. Mindfulness is grounded in compassion and kindness towards yourself and others. A journey of self-discovery, self-compassion and self-acceptance.
“Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already.” ~ Pema Chodron
CULTIVATING MINDFULNESS IN YOUR LIFE
♥ Become present in your own life – Jon Kabbat-Zinn suggests the next time you are having a shower, check to see if you are there! You might realise you are in that board meeting scheduled for later in the day, or in the car taking your kids to school?
Seek to be fully present even in the face of suffering or pain. This is the only time you are alive. Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad. It is an opportunity to learn, grow, and express emotions, such as love and gratitude.
You do that by paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to whatever is arising inwardly and outwardly. ~ Jon Kabbat-Zinn
♥ Formal and Informal Mindfulness Practice – Jon Kabbat-Zinn explains that making time for both will "ground, deepen and accelerate" your mindfulness practice. Maybe you need to start your day a little earlier to prioritise your formal meditation.
Informal practice can be throughout your day. You can purposely bring awareness to moments, such as hanging out washing, shaving or putting on makeup, or walking to your car. The list is endless...
♥ Extend Lots of Kindness and Compassion Towards Yourself – Mindfulness is a non-judgmental practice. It is about treating yourself with absolute kindness and compassion at all times.
Start noticing your self-talk, and use the "how would I treat a friend test"! E.g. if you wouldn't say it to a friend then you probably shouldn't say it to you.
You can have compassion for yourself - which is not self-pity. You’re simply recognizing that ‘this is tough, this hurts,’ and bringing the same warm-hearted wish for suffering to lessen or end that you would bring to any dear friend grappling with the same pain, upset, or challenges as you. ~ Rick Hanson
♥ Its More About "Being" than "Doing" – You're not trying to create any special feeling, such as calmness. Or trying to get rid of anything, such as anxiety. Just appreciating the gift of being alive in this moment.
Befriending yourself in this way is the adventure of a lifetime, and hugely empowering. ~ Jon Kabbat-Zinn
Mindfulness is one of the most exciting discoveries of our lifetime. Yet it has been there all along! Maybe its time for you to take a closer look.
If you need help with anxiety, stress or depression, then please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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