Where is My Mind?!?!
There is a wealth of information out there on evidenced-based research and mindfulness techniques. However, I implore you to further explore the many nuances of mindfulness and the mechanics of the mind. For as you gain greater clarity, insight, knowledge and wisdom, your ability to make more informed conscious decisions becomes greatly enhanced. Therefore, empowering you to new states of awareness, empowered choice, and peace of mind. Learning these skills become timeless tools that can help you to navigate any situation or stress.
Put it like this. You know that your car needs oil to run. You get that you need to check the oil from time to time, but do you know when to check it, or where to actually look? Even more so, do you know what it sounds like when your car is low on oil? This is the difference between getting better gas mileage and longevity and preventive maintenance or paying for costly inspections and automotive repairs.
So what if you learned how to optimally check the oil, anticipate your car's needs by how it sounded and ran and better yet, exactly what it needed rather than taking a chance that you’ll get misled by a mechanic? You would be empowered and prepared. Taking care of our minds is no different. I’m not saying go out there and become neurologists or get a masters in psychology or epigenetics, but I AM saying, take a little bit of time to start becoming aware of your own mind.
This is called observing, or awareness. Pay attention to how a conversation, situation, news, music, comedy makes you feel. Notice the sensations it evokes within your body.
TRY THIS: Think about a memory when someone you knew and loved openly welcomed and received you after not seeing each other for a long time? How does that memory make you feel, in your mind, your body and what emotions are brought up?
Now, think about a time or situation where you experienced someone or a situation that made you feel rejected, or questioning if you did the right thing? What mental, emotional and physical sensations present now?
Are you able to reflect upon this latter situation and love yourself more? Give witness to the interaction without judgement?
This is the beginning step of Mindfulness. And to hone this skill and practice, we can use mediation, breath work, and even neuro linguistic programing and neuroplasticity techniques.
Remember you are not the depression, yet you may feel depressed.
“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis.
Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.” - mindful.org
The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the research-backed stress-reduction program Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), explains how mindfulness lights up parts of our brains that aren’t normally activated when we’re mindlessly running on autopilot. Watch his video here: https://youtu.be/ULJSacYFzzQ
(Disclaimer) If you suspect you have a mental illness or you're being treated by a mental health professional, ask about how you can incorporate physical activity into your treatment.
A qualified mental health professional can make suggestions about the best strategies for treating your specific condition.
Mindfulness = Mental Wellbeing
“Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.” - Mayo Clinic
Goal of any mindfulness technique = Achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention (having awareness of) to thoughts and sensations WITHOUT judgment. Thus allowing the mind to refocus on the present moment.
YOUR ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS! You are the AWARENESS of Your Thoughts ;)
Wednesday Post - Use our “Be Kind To Your Mind” poster
Mindfulness In Action
The Power of Breath
Breath work = active form of consciously working your breath to bypass the mind = enter a different state of awareness.
This is what most people seek when meditating, and breath work takes you to that place very quickly. The practice gives the brain's executive functioning something to focus on, you can bypass the mental level of consciousness and drop into a deeper state of consciousness, where healing, spirit, and love reside.
Types of Meditation:
Experts Agree, a daily meditation practice can have significant benefits for mental and physical health. However, there is no one perfect way. Try some out and find what feels right for you. Here are a few to get you started, (youtube has some great guided meditations.)
Guided or Unguided Meditation
There are literally dozens more, explore and let your heart and mind guide you.
ENGAGEMENT QUESTION: Have you ever meditated? How was your experience? Would you commit to 5 min each day for the next week?