Mindfulness… it IS all the buzz.
Mindfulness at its most simplistic boils down to CHOICES, CHOICES, CHOICES!!!
Perhaps you are not quite certain of the value it may add to your overall well-being? Is it worth taking into consideration? Without a doubt.
So why all the hype, attention and energy? Simply… because we are perfectly human and have complex brains ~ we complicate. Yup… complicate is a VERB. Now we need to use our complex brains to UNcomplicate. That IS mindfulness… Basically the practice of awareness of how we complicate… so that we STOP. Whew! …sounds complicated!!! IT IS NOT.
First big question ~ How much time and effort will it take in my already overwhelmingly busy life??? Let’s circle back to that after we get through the following questions…regarding the VALUE of mindfulness.
- What exactly IS mindfulness???
- Why does mindfulness matter???
- How will mindfulness improve my life???
Here is the definition of Mindfulness as a noun:
“…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.”
Let’s take a leap and put mindfulness into action ~ as a verb:
THERAPEUTIC: ”to become sound or healthy.”
OK…so that answers WHAT.
Now the WHY. Why does it matter?
Mindfulness opens us up to CHOICE. Mindful of choices about everything that is important to our well-being. Choices in the moment. Choices as an ongoing plan. Big or small. For instance… How did you choose your current automobile? What did you choose for breakfast/lunch/dinner?… the clothes you have on at this very moment??? What time did you choose to go to sleep…wake up? Did you choose to floss? Watch the news? …catch an extra episode ~ read another chapter? Study?
When we are mindful of our choices… we make better choices. As simple as choosing to take an umbrella along when it’s raining. Yes… that’s an easy and smart choice.
Ready for the HOW? Well… the more mindful we become in general… more difficult choices ~ become LESS difficult. Mindfulness takes the pressure OFF!
Mindfulness is often equated with MEDITATION. We can achieve mindfulness without the daunting label of meditation. For many…meditation carries ‘responsibility.’ Carving out time in a quiet place; being silent and still. Full out meditation has amazing benefits, as science has proven. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is the impetus here.
Mindfulness can occur anytime; anywhere.
The foundation of mindfulness (as well as meditation) is awareness of ‘breath.’ Breath is super important… it’s the first thing we do when we hit the planet ~ the last thing we do when we depart. We can go way longer without food and water than without breath. In daily living ~ it is adaptogenic. When we are tired… breath energizes us. When we are wired… breath CALMS us.
Calming! Yes!… less stress. Anytime; anywhere ~ (yup, that is worth repeating!) Awareness is a stress buster. Awareness of BREATH is the ultimate stress reliever. Simple and easy.
There is a legitimate term that applies here ~ “Monkeymind.” The chatter that goes on, and on, and on… relentlessly in our minds. When we bring awareness to ‘breath,’ ~ the monkey focuses on the ‘inhale & exhale,’ and becomes quiet. Ahhhhhhhhh…
Here are some suggestions regarding HOW to integrate mindfulness through breath into your day…
First… a quick breath ‘check.’ Inhale through your nose ~ Exhale through a soft jaw (as if fogging a mirror… not blowing out candles with pursed lips). Your chewing muscles (jaw juncture) are among the strongest muscles in your body. IF these muscles are tight…you are tense. Need proof??? Place your fingers of both hands lightly at your jaw juncture. Gently clench your teeth. Amazing, isn’t it? AND so very close to our overactive brains… and connected to the muscles that run along our necks; outwards toward our shoulders. No wonder we have such tension (tightness) there!
Exhaling through a soft jaw (after inhaling through the nose) releases an enormous amount of tension! You are already on your way to mindfulness!!! Super easy, right?
Just one mindful breath IS a mini-meditation! Mindful awareness of breath! Sitting on a pillow attempting to empty your thoughts is not necessary to achieve mindfulness.
One breath between sips of your coffee or tea…or bites of some delicious food. That pause will bring immense gratification. A few breaths at a stop sign or traffic light. All of this takes no additional time at all. You are already drinking, eating ~ or driving. This is how we can fit mindfulness into our busy lives. Not complicated at all.
Each one of those breaths opens us up to CHOICE. When we quiet ‘monkeymind,’ we have that moment to choose… Choice is a relief. Brought on by just one breath. That moment when we have the awareness to choose our next thought or action.
Mindfulness can positively impact every aspect of your daily life ~ and keep you grounded towards self-care = WELLNESS. Less stress will positively impact you; everyone around you ~ and every action you complete. In short order you will notice the serenity with which you make your CHOICES.
Immeasurable value… ahhhhhhhhhhhh…