If you truly want to change your life, you must first change how you use your mind, and by using the practice of Mindfulness to improve your health both emotionally and physically, will help you significantly.
Mindfulness will help you to quieten your mind, removing the past and future as your focus, instead allowing you to concentrate on the current moment.
How many times have you been out with your family and yet troubled by thoughts of the things you need to be doing at work?
Your brain is always running away with thoughts, most of which bring you unbelievable stress. This is simply no good for your health.
Anyone looking to get back to health or those wishing to avoid ill health in the future, must find the time to use Mindfulness which is simply the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—this very second.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
First of all, as the definition says, mindfulness involves paying attention “on purpose”. At the moment you probably leave your mind free to spiral out of control, normally in a negative way. It wanders through all kinds of thoughts — including thoughts expressing rage, disappointment, anxiety, fear, self-pity, etc. This just makes things worse.
Instead you need to use mindfulness so as to notice what is actually going on now. Not the past or future. Taking time to live in the present moment. Making that moment the best it can be.
“Once you have learned to focus your attention in the present moment, you can begin to refer to your intuitive faculties for direction. These intuitive sources are your direct link with the totality of your being.”
When was the last time you actually spent time reflecting on the now? Noticing your breathing, how your body feels and what is happening around you. Taking everything in with detail.
My guess is not often. Most of the time you’re in a panic to satisfy all the demands placed on you, desperate to get everything done, so finding yourself losing your connection with the present moment—missing out on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling.
Worse still is you frequently find your emotions are erratic and you feel down. The pressures placed upon you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
Learning to practice living in the moment will give you more control over your emotions and increase mental clarity, an example of using mindfulness to improve your Health. Most importantly it gives you a time where you can just be, totally unaffected by external factors and internal thoughts normally controlling your every breathing moment. It’s shifting your thoughts away from your usual burdens and troubles towards simply appreciating what’s happening in the moment and just enjoying the simple pleasures in life as they occur, helping you to be fully engaged in activities as you do them, no longer being pulled all over the place by your thoughts.
Yet in this state of mind you will be more able to make sense of your thoughts. Practicing mindfulness will enable you to observe your thoughts and feelings with the indifference of an ‘objective bystander.’ Life will be seen in a completely different perspective, and your decisions will be far better, and you’ll see life as one of opportunity not one of struggle and disappointment.
“Enjoy every moment you can. Pay attention to this very moment. Life is short.”
There are many benefits of practicing mindfulness for both your physical and mental health while also enhancing the body’s natural healing process.
It helps to dramatically reduce:
As well as improving:
• Attention span,
• Reaction speed,
• Emotional Intelligence.
There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, but the goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment.
You can practice mindfulness throughout the day, even while answering e-mails, sitting in traffic or waiting in line. All you have to do is become more aware—of your breath, of your feet on the ground, of your fingers typing, of the people and voices around you.
Let me provide you with an exercise to use Mindfulness to Improve Your Health.
Read through the exercise and then do it from memory – it doesn’t have to be exact.
Maybe record the exercise and play it back for yourself to do when you can then listen to it, or have someone read the exercise to you
Sit in a chair and settle into a comfortable position.
Begin by bringing your full attention to your body.
Start to disengage the mind from busy thoughts and ideas. Close your eyes softly.
Pay attention to your body seated wherever you’re seated, feeling the weight of your body on the chair, making contact with the surface.
Find a position of stability and poise, with your upper back absolutely straight. as though its being pulled up gently but firmly by a cord from the ceiling, shoulders in a comfortable but alert posture, hands on your knees, arms hanging by their own weight, like heavy curtains, stable and relaxed. Now feel the strength radiating from your body.
Through your feet… legs… hips… lower and upper body… arms… shoulders… neck… head…
Allow the outside world to gradually melt away and dissolve into empty space.
Bring your awareness to your breathing, the actual physical sensations, feeling each breath as it comes in and as it goes out… letting your breath be just as it is, without trying to change or regulate it in any way… just breath in and breathe out … allowing it to flow easily and naturally, with its own rhythm and pace, knowing you are breathing perfectly well right now, nothing for you to do… just breath, in and out.
Take a few more deep breaths. Feel them entering your body through your nose.
And as you exhale, through your mouth, have a sense of relaxing more deeply.
Notice your feet on the floor, notice the sensations of your feet touching the floor. The weight and pressure, vibration, heat.
Notice your legs against the chair, pressure, pulsing, heaviness, lightness.
Notice your back against the chair.
Bring your attention into your stomach area. If your stomach is tense or tight, let it soften.
Take a breath.
Notice your hands. Are your hands tense or tight. See if you can allow them to soften.
Notice your arms. Feel any sensation in your arms. Let your shoulders be soft.
Notice your neck and throat. Let them be soft. Relax.
Soften your jaw. Let your face and facial muscles be soft.
Focus on the area around the crown of your head. Gradually focusing on this area imagine that all the tension in the muscles gradually dissolves away. Imagining any tension headache or pain dissolving away, disappearing as you relax more and more.
Then notice your whole body present. Relaxed and feeling great. Take one more breath.
Be aware of your whole body as best you can.
Take a breath.
It’s time to exit this mindfulness state.
Consciously allow your breathing to slow down and become more regular. Let your breathing normalise.
Open your eyes, feel your body and mind becoming more aware of your surroundings.
Let’s now count from 3 to 1.
You now feel wide awake and alert.
Notice how clear your mind feels, how refreshed your body feels, and what strength and power you experience.
You have now enjoyed a few minutes of mindfulness. You can extend this for as long as you want.
You can become mindful at any moment just by paying attention to your immediate experience. You can do it right now. Practice Mindfulness to improve your health. Try it just for 10 minutes and see how good it helps you to feel.
photo credit: homethods Thinking Visualizing dreaming – Credit to https://homethods.com/ via photopin (license)