Practicing Mindfulness for Better Health
Many people know that achieving better health requires physical exercise and keeping your body running clean. On the flip side of the coin, your physical health is not the only important aspect of your overall health. We can also achieve better health and well being by exercising and cleansing our body through mindfulness.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present state and being in control of your habits and choices. It may sound like this is something everybody has already been doing everyday. However in reality, many things happen beyond our control which leave us not being fully present and aware.
Sometimes, you will notice that you are doing the same thing despite changes in your plans. For instance, maybe you want to eat healthier. But when you really pay attention, you will be surprised that in reality you ended up consuming much more fats than what you intended to.
The reason for this is that we tend to do everything on autopilot when it becomes our habit. There are times we become unconscious of what we are doing. We are only able to do it because it is already in our routine. The problem starts when we need to be flexible. Our habits will still dominate our normal behavior.
Mindfulness is the key to regaining our awareness of what is going on. It enables us to be reminded of our direction and status. It clears out distractions and filters priorities. In other words, it makes us become more conscious of who we are, what we do, what we have, what we feel, and why we do things.
How to Practice Mindfulness
You may think that mindfulness is a certain type of meditation that requires a specific position or posture. Yes, it is. Mindfulness is meditation. However, it is not about a certain yoga position or specific physical activity.
The purpose of mindfulness is to free up your mind and to get back to yourself. This can be achieved through several steps and procedures. Mindfulness can done in things like an eight week program for 2 to 3 hours every week. It could be done with other participants in the program, one on one with a coach, or completely alone.
In every mindfulness program, activities may include sitting in a chair for a specific period of time, walking in a quiet place or surrounding, stretching, yoga, and the like. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be so complicated. You don’t need any special equipment or place to practice it. What it needs is a particular condition you can set up even on your own in order to regain your focus.
If you want a more guided process to practice mindfulness, you can find any mindfulness program and enroll in it. A coach will guide you through the whole process. Most programs apply transcendental meditation in which your mind goes beyond your physical limit and acknowledges such limit to get a much clearer picture of yourself.
Nevertheless, you can practice mindfulness alone without enrolling in a program. If you already tried it in a certain program, you can apply the same procedure at home. You can also follow some online tutorials available on the internet for free. There are many tutorials that give you step by step instructions and guides to follow.
On the other hand, mindfulness can also be done anywhere even in the middle of your busy day. For instance, you need to take a deep breath while walking and thinking of something in a calm and peaceful manner. It depends on your situation. What is important is you have a system or method of implementing it.
Health Benefits of Mindfulness
Although mindfulness may transform your life in general, it was first practiced as a medical healing process. Since stress is the most common culprit of many illnesses, mindfulness is a great solution to this common problem.
When you become stressed out you lose control of yourself. When you are under stress, your blood circulation, heart and other organs don’t function optimally. This can cause many health problems.
Getting back to yourself and being aware of what’s going on can make you feel calm. Consequently, your stress level decreases, and your well being becomes balanced.
What Mindfulness Is Not
1. A Religious Practice.
In western countries such as Europe and America, meditation is perceived by many people as a sort of religious practice in Asia such as Buddhism. Actually, there are a lot of atheists and agnostics who practice mindfulness as well.
2. Sitting in a Cross-Legged Position
When people hear the word meditation, they think it is all about sitting in a cross-legged position while facing upward with eyes closed. This is how it is portrayed on TV, magazines, books, and blogs. Yes, this can be part of a meditation process but not meditation itself.
Mindfulness is not idleness nor stillness. You can practice mindfulness anywhere you go and whatever you do. It’s how you incorporate the steps in your everyday life. You can schedule it or consistently apply it to form a habit.
Once you start practicing mindfulness you will notice that it becomes a lifestyle rather than just a specific program or exercise. Making it apart of your life can make you much healthier and happier person!
3 Simple Tips for Being More Mindful Everyday
Mindfulness is all about tuning the brain to focus on the present moment. It is important to state this fact because sometimes the true essence of mindfulness is lost. This happens when putting all emphasis on traditional activities practiced alongside mindfulness such as meditation or yoga. However, mindfulness can be applied in our daily lives. By focusing on the here and now, this gives us greater peace of mind and clarity. Using this approach, we can avoid drifting through our lives in confusion, being consumed by thoughts of what could have been or planning for things that are out of our control.
There are many simple ways to practice mindfulness. In this post, you can learn to apply 3 tips for being mindful every day.
1. Mindful Eating
Eating mindfully is something that many people take for granted. All too often, many of us are always in a hurry to finish a meal only to miss enjoying one of life’s most simple and wonderful pleasures. Next time when having a meal, try to eat mindfully. Before you begin eating, take notice of the presentation of food and the scent. Remember to take small bites and chew slowly while paying attention to the texture and taste of the food. When you immerse yourself fully in the moment, this not only makes mindful eating more enjoyable, but also helps with digestion and prevents overeating.
2. Listen Mindfully
Conversations with other people present another great opportunity to put active mindfulness into practice. Sometimes when other people talk to us, we may be there physically but not with our whole being. We think what to say next or judge what others are saying, mentally agreeing or disagreeing with them before they even finish talking.
To listen with mindfulness, you will need to focus fully on others when having a chat. Next time you have a conversation with a loved one or colleague, avoid getting caught up in your own mental chatter. Pay attention to what they are saying. People appreciate when you truly listen and they will likely respond in kind when it is your turn to speak.
3. Pay More Attention While Attending to One Thing at a Time
In today’s fast paced world, multitasking has become a common trend as people attempt to get more done within a short amount of time. And, while people think that multitasking makes us more productive, it only leads to needless quick exhaustion. When one tires quickly, mistakes are bound to be made. This can be avoided by doing things one at a time and with mindfulness. When you take on tasks with full focus, one by one, this leaves little room for mistakes or forgetting things due to rushing. You will find that you are more efficient and less worn out when attending to each task one at time mindfully.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of other opportunities in our daily lives to be mindful and live fully in the moment. By practicing mindfulness on a daily basis, the brain eventually learns how to be more efficient and better integrated. You will start to experience improved focus and less distractibility. Stress levels will go down as well. This in turn will make your daily activities, thoughts, attitudes, and perceptions more balanced.