Mindfulness…a practice? A lifestyle? A buzzword? What the heck is mindfulness?
Well recently I’ve been traveling through some personal growth opportunities (read: growing pains). Throughout this time, some themes keep popping up: self care, meditation, mindfulness.
We all know we need to spend more time on self-care, especially if you’re an empath, a mom, a business owner, a person who deals with mental health, a person who is a care-giver. *ding ding ding* That’s ME! So let’s just set that one aside for a moment.
Moving on to meditation. I recently watched a documentary that outlined some distinct differences between meditation newbies (me) and those who were advanced in their meditation practice. Aside from the obvious “stress response”, there was an interesting “pain response” difference between those two groups.
This tells me that meditation changes our brains physically as well as emotionally and spiritually. *Check* need to do more of that!
If you’re interested, check out “The Mind, Explained” on Netflix, the episode titled “Mindfulness”
So where does mindfulness fit into all this?
Mindfulness, in this context, is defined as:
a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
As much as I need to be practicing my meditation, right now in this growth period, I NEED to be focusing on MINDFULNESS even more.
This morning, as I was lying in bed with my darling children on either side of me, I began feeling tension, anxiety, frustration. Not at them, by any means…it’s just a side effect of my situation. So I turned to google to find a mindfulness exercise I could use that was appropriate to how I was feeling.
Some mindfulness exercises ask you to take notice of your surroundings or make note of gratitude/blessings. But I knew I needed something more internal. Something to address my emotional mindfulness that was causing physical manifestations.
Thankfully, I quickly came across this exercise on PsychCentral.com
- Stand up and breathe. Feel your connection to the earth.
- Tune in to your body. Lower your gaze. Scan your body and notice physical sensations or emotions. Discharge any unpleasant sensations, emotions or feelings on the out breath. Notice any pleasant ones and let them fill you up on the in breath.
- Observe. Lift your eyes and take in your surroundings. Observe something in your environment that is pleasant and be grateful for it and its beauty.
- Possibility. Ask yourself what is possible or what is new or what is a forward step.
If you find yourself being reactive, try the following steps:
Pause and take one to three big breaths.
Say “step back.” ( You don’t have to physically step back, you can just do it in your mind.)
Say “clear head.”
Say “calm body.”
Breathe again. Say “relax,” “melt” or “ease.”
In that same documentary I mentioned earlier, there was a section on mindfulness (surprise!). A monk described his challenges with anxiety. Through mindfulness, he was able to separate himself from his anxious responses and reactions, he observed the anxiety as a neutral party then “made friends” with the anxiety. It didn’t cause the anxiety to disappear, but it did allow the man to live more fully in his experiences having a better understanding and handle on his anxiety.
Have you ever heard the quote “Give it to God” or something similar? I have just realized, for me “mindfulness” and “Give it to God” are the same thing! This realization made me feel amazing! I now have a tool in my toolbox that feeds my soul and my body! I’m super enthused to use it…often.
This practice will not alleviate me from my anxiety, depression or growing pains. But, hopefully, it will give me a better prospective and stronger personal skills to live my best life.
Now please excuse me, I need to STOP and then get some self-care Reiki flowing to help me ground, recenter and elevate!