There’s a lot of buzz about being mindful and the importance of meditation for our overall health and wellbeing. Despite the numerous benefits, so many of us are afraid to dip our toes in that pool of tranquility for numerous reasons, including not having the time and believing we won’t ‘succeed’ at stillness.
Beyond creating a general sense of wellbeing that makes life more enjoyable, there are some very specific ways mindfulness benefits us:
- Relieves stress
- Treats heart disease
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces chronic pain
- Improves sleep
- Alleviates gastrointestinal difficulties
- Eases depression
- Improves ability to communicate
- Improves ability to handle conflict
- Enhances self-esteem
- Improves satisfaction with life
- Creates greater capacity to deal with stressful life events
- Reduces worry and regrets
- Enhances connections with other people
- Helps with addressing mental health issues, including substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder
Here in the USA, we’re just catching up to what most of the world knows: mindfulness works by helping us to accept our life experiences – good, bad and ugly – instead of merely reacting to avoid them.
This “practice” helps us deal with life – the odd situations we encounter, the conditions often placed on us that are less than ideal, the amazing blessings we encounter and, of course, our personal and professional relationships.
Right about now, you’re thinking “That’s all lovely, but I don’t have TIME to meditate and I wouldn’t be good at it anyway.”
Fortunately, you can reap the benefits of mindfulness without spending hours a day meditating. The key is becoming more present, or aware, in your daily moments. You can start process this by accepting where you are at in any given situation. Maybe it’s walking the dog, or doing the dishes…
- Be present. Take a deep breath and really try to dive into your mundane tasks, giving them your full attention. Maybe you actually take time to feel the heat of the water while doing the dishes; look at the trees or play with your dog while walking him.
- Try gratitude. Consider for just a brief moment how fortunate you are to experience the unconditional love of your dog, or that you can afford food to eat and clean water to wash your dishes. Take it a step further – recognize and give thanks that you are physically able to wash dishes or walk your dog. Be thankful for the smallest of blessings because they often times are great treasures we simply take for granted. (Ask anyone with a broken arm or using crutches about the challenges of the daily activities we all simply “do” without thought).
- Keep it simple. When your mind starts to wander, and it will, just keep coming back to the basics. Feel the soapy water or the sensation of your feet hitting the pavement. Take a deep breath and notice the aroma of the meal you just enjoyed, or the scent of night jasmine starting to fill the air as you walk.
- Expand it. Keep practicing mindfulness in little moments throughout your day and then start applying these principles to the larger situations or experiences in your life. Savor that cup of coffee and then really participate in the conversation that you are having with a coworker.
What you’ll find over time is that you start approach things with a slightly different “eye.” While waiting in traffic you might get frustrated, take a deep breath, look out the window and start to truly enjoy the sunshine, or relax into the song on the radio.
When your boss calls upset, you somehow manage to “step back” and realize that you can respond by listening instead of reacting, realizing he needs to “vent” before you speak and provide a suitable resolution to the problem.
You might even find yourself sitting quietly in a chair just enjoying the sounds of the house around you and, before you know it, discover that you want to carve-out time each day to enjoy the stillness as you let your thoughts drift on by.
For more information on healthy living or to set up an organic lifestyle consultation contact Purely You Spa at 239-331-8266.