Practicing the art of mindfulness is a wonderfully positive and worthwhile activity to implement, no matter what stage of life you are in or health journey you are on.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – you’re busy enough and don’t have time to implement yet another strategy….but this one requires such little time and effort on your part, and packs such an impressive ‘personal growth’ punch, that it’s worth the small amount of brain space it will take up!
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness – the act of being open, attentive and present. When we practice mindfulness, we observe and question our actions, thought processes and behaviours without passing any judgment on them – be it good or bad.
Implementing the habit of mindfulness can have quite a profound impact on many areas of your life – whether you are trying to change old behaviours, create new ones, explore and maintain both business and personal relationships or simply problem solve a situation in your life. Being attentive, curious and present in the moment can void our brain of any unnecessary clutter and emotion and help us with decision making and problem solving without the usual associated stress.
I am often asked by people, “Where do I start? I’ve been an over-thinker my whole life, so how do I implement mindfulness now?” It’s actually a lot easier than you might think! When you start out you could simply practice while performing everyday tasks such as driving to work, brushing your teeth or doing your hair or makeup.
For example, when you are brushing your teeth, instead of thinking about all the things you need to do, problems in your life you are trying to solve, your busy schedule, what’s for dinner, what activities your children have on for the day, etc, etc, etc, try focusing only on that present moment. Don’t think about the past or the future, focus simply on how you are, what you are feeling and what you are doing in that very moment. Is your breathing fast or slow? Are you feeling tired or well rested? How are your emotions?
When you are exploring these thoughts and happenings, remember that we don’t want to attach any emotion or judgement to them. Instead we want to notice and acknowledge these thoughts, without labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and then let them be, focusing once more on the present moment. This can actually be quite tricky and take a little time to get used to.
In relation to a diet or lifestyle change such as the Hunter Gatherer Protocol or the 4 Phase Fat Loss Protocol, practicing mindfulness can allow us to be more aware of our physical and emotional state, without feeling overwhelmed, depressed and falling victim to self-criticism and judgement. Our regrets and ‘failings’ from our past, as well as our fears and skepticism about our future, can make it difficult to truly live in and enjoy the present.
It’s important to understand that simply by practising mindfulness, you are freeing yourself up to actively experience and enjoy each day as it comes, lay down positive new memories and make positive changes in your life – perhaps making it easier to change certain habits and behaviours that have been holding you back.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
It might surprise you to know that mindfulness has been around for 2500 years and has been utilised as a valuable tool in psychological therapies since the 1970’s. Its many known benefits include:
- Relieving anxiety and depression
- Helping with chronic pain
- Helping to overcome addiction
- Helping to overcome eating disorders
- Helping to prevent the formation of suicidal ideas
- Improving attention span, memory and concentration
- Boosting creativity
- Reducing stress and, as a flow-on effect, helping to strengthen your relationships.
One thing to understand is that mindfulness isn’t about emptying your head of thoughts – it’s about letting your thoughts come and go, acknowledging and accepting them without passing judgement. My biggest tip as you begin to practice the art of mindfulness is to stay curious. While we are curious we can more easily accept, understand and question various thoughts and behaviours rather than jumping straight into self-critical and analytical mode. Below are some blogs from Psychology Today that I feel are relevant to those undergoing any kind of physical or emotional transformation.
Do you ever feel like time is just flying by but you don’t remember what exactly it is you’ve been doing? Here is a blog that takes a look at how being present in the moment can help.
Need help moving past some negativity in your life? Read this blog here.
Do you practice mindfulness? Let us know how it’s changed your life, outlook, relationships and coping abilities! We’d love to hear your stories!
Yours in health & happiness!
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