Mindful Monday | Why & How I Started Practicing Mindfulness
Hey friend! Welcome back to my blog. Today I wanted to share the first post of a new series I’d like to incorporate on the blog. I believe mindfulness is such an important aspect of our mental and emotional well-being, but I only recently committed to practicing it. I’ve noticed how it helps me in my everyday life, and I want you to experience that too!
Like many people, I used to think mindfulness only meant meditating. And I thought mediating meant only sitting completely still, not thinking about anything. I thought that would be impossible because my mind is always full of thoughts. But mindfulness is actually not the absence of thoughts. Here’s a great definition:
mindfulness: 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.
Mindfulness is more about sitting with your thoughts, accepting them and letting them pass without judgement. For me, mindfulness is all about just being in the present moment, not worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. For someone with anxiety, a huge struggle of mine is staying present. Practicing mindfulness takes practice.
Like I said earlier, mindfulness doesn’t have to be meditation, but meditation is certainly a great form of mindfulness. For me, personally, it helped to start with something less “intimidating” until I was ready to meditate. My favorite way to practice mindfulness, to this day, is walking meditation. I just throw on some headphones with relaxing music and go for a walk, not looking at my phone, and appreciating the nature around me. It helps clear my thoughts and gives me a break from my usual “go-go-go” mentality.
I’ve recently begun giving mindfulness meditation a try. If you’d like to try mindfulness meditation a try, here is a great link to guided mindful meditations from UCLA. I also recommend the app, Calm. It has all different kinds of guided meditations and breathing exercises, so you can find what works for you!
You might be wondering… “but why should I practice mindfulness?”
Research has found there to be proven health benefits of mindfulness. The growing evidence indicates that repeated mindfulness practice can lead to positive life changes, including reduced stress and anxiety, reduced chronic physical pain, boosted immune system, the ability to cope with difficult life events, the ability to deal with negative emotions, improved sleep, increased self-awareness, improved concentration, a greater sense of happiness and wellbeing, and reduced addictive behaviours. It can result in positive change in the structure of the brain and even have a positive effect on physical problems such as hypertension and heart disease.
So, do you practice mindfulness? What do you think about? After learning more about it, are you willing to give it a try? Let me know!
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand