Can we develop skills that enable us to enrich our lives by thinking in the moment? By taking a look at how mindfulness can be immersed within personal development we can identify how the strategies can collectively help us to accept that life is the way it is but with an outlook that can remain positive and appreciative. Can mindfulness take us to a place of humble gratitude?
Bringing About Change With Mindfulness
Mindfulness allows us time to gain self awarenes, building upon self esteem and confidence. To be able to believe in ourselves without self judgement and feel secure enough to invest in ourselves is an ability to achieve a state of mind that lends itself to feeling contentment, gratitude and appreciation. Mindfulness. Being present without judgement in every moment.
Please allow me to take you on a snap shot of mindfulness discovery to show how mindfulness can be part of personal development, for life.
Imagine living a life thinking of worst case scenarios while enduring real physical reactions because of those fictional thoughts. The feeling of being crippled by such pointlessness is matched by the feeling of endured negativity. Being mindful focuses on the present moment, negating the ability to look for the untruths of the future and when meditation alone can't focus the mind and body, yoga can assist in combining physical poses and controlled breathing with relaxation. Childs pose is especially helpful, releasing tension in the neck, back and shoulders while encouraging steady conscious breathing.
As meditation slows down our busy thoughts, it is thought that focusing on the present in a meditative state enables a reduction in cortisol levels, lowering stress on a neurochemical level. Thoughts that are mindful enable us to become aware of what is going on within ourselves. As we tune into our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations we can learn to accept our experiences as they are, responding with a skillful awareness instead of acting, and reacting, out of habit and conditioning.
Being mindful when eating helps to slow the process down while giving the opportunity to savour. Purposefully thinking in this way helps you to feel more in control as you consume when you are hungry and appreciate what you consume. When positives are applied to food consumption we can begin to apply positives to how we perceive ourselves in terms of our body image. The act of slow purposeful eating facilitates good digestion therefore negating the need to eat more to gain the feeling of satisfaction.
Every day stresses take their toll on our ability to sleep. Research by Hulshegar et al suggests that even a small amount of mindfulness can calm our mind to improve our sleep. Their research found that those who meditated experienced improvements in sleep quality and sleep duration.
How do you help yourself to better sleep?
- Don't look at the clock when you do struggle to get to sleep or remain asleep. Watching time pass adds to the stress and frustration of not sleeping.
- Keep to a sleep routine. Get up and go to bed the same time every day, even at weekends. This will help your body clock get in to sync.
- Try to unwind with meditation to focus the brain and relax the body. Exercises that engage breathing will help to quieten your mind and body, bringing a sense of calm that enables you to drift off to sleep.
Instead of focusing on how badly we want our pain to stop, being mindful allows us to think of the pain in a way that is not natural for the brain. The pain sensation ensures our minset surrounds negativity, annoyance and upset possibly feeding anxiety and sadness. Little do our hurting negative selves know but that approach makes the pain appear much worse. A change in our thinking will enable us to relate to the pain differently. We should focus on what is noticable about the pain and it's attributes (for want of a better word!) bringing forth an awareness to the severity patterns, peaks, troughs and differing sensations. In other words, in times of chronic pain try to focus on learning about what you're experiencing rather than enter a frantic search for answers and endings.
Lowering Blood Pressure
Taking a few minutes to relax each day could help you lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Being mindful and in control of stress, anxiety, sleep and having good eating practices can all have a positive effect on blood pressure. It is recognised that mindfulness alone isn't enough to lower blood pressure but being mindful and adopting positive lifestyle changes can be a complementary treatment for blood pressure in the prehypertensive range.
To be able to successfully pay attention the mind needs to be aware of how we're paying attention. Our minds will naturally wander but an empathetic person will experience compassionate thoughts about the 'interuption', embracing an attitude of 'I'm interested and care that this is in my present'. To be able to show compassion for others we should endevour to show compassion for ourselves. If we're able to be patient wth all of our unresolved issus, we can learn to love the questions too.
As we sit down to consider what we're actually grateful for, we take a moment to picture each item in our mind. The feeling of gratitude enables neurons to light up areas of the brain that facilitates happiness. In term of mindfulness, we can't feel grateful for things that we don't notice. The two go hand-in-hand helping us to appreciate lovely moments in life whilst enabling us to make lovely moments for others.
The humble amongst us are able to see and accept their own strengths and weaknesses without being defensive or judging themselves. In possessing self acceptance we can expect to show little value in showing others that we can accomplish to feel accepted in the society in which we live. It mens we don't place our seelf worth on those extermal things, keeping ou self esteem in tact when we can't live up to expectations. The trick, it seems, is self compassion.
We can let ourselves become laden with worries that take their toll on our body and our mind. The need to rejuvenate our physical and emotional self becomes apparent at some stage as we have an innate ability to know that when the mind and body are struggling we should slow down. By learning to live in the moment we can use awareness and positivity to reconnect to our inner self, breathing slowly to calm the body.
Mindfulness offers us the chance to change the conditioning that has occured through experiences and our perceptions of them. It enables us to take back control of ourselves and the way we think, feel and act while helping us to live with greater joy, contentment, and kindness. We can learn to embrace difficult feelings and emotions both in mind and in body. Mindfulness is no quick fix but it can be a desirable strategy for coping with what life throws at us. Mindfulness isn't a life changer but could well be seen as a life enrichment tool.
Mindfulness pioneer Sylvia Boorstein suggests ''Mindfulness doesn't change life. Life remains as fragile and unpredictable as ever. What changes is the heart's capacity to accept life as it is. It teaches the heart to be more accommodating; not by beating it in into submission' but by making it clear that accommodation is a gratifying choice''.