LET’S TALK ABOUT…..LIVING A MINDFULNESS LIFE! Have you noticed how some days you get out of bed feeling anxious, full of anxiety, and an overwhelming feeling of depression? Your mind is already full of things you need to do during the day, unfinished business from days past, and wondering how you are going to solve a big family or work problem. Haven’t even gotten the coffee started, and there you are—already struggling.
One of the “tools” in my toolbox that I give to my clients is “Live a life of mindfulness”; be in the NOW, live CONSCIOUSLY! Mindfulness means living in a state of awareness versus interpreting the moments of our life through our ego.
When we are in mindfulness we are paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, and senses that we are experiencing in the present moment. We are experiencing the present without judgement, fears, or expectations—we are here, NOW.
The current practice of mindfulness became part of the American secular thoughts of healing through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 as part of his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program launched from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Research has documented the physical, mental health, and societal benefits of using mindfulness–and MBSR in particular. MBSR models have been adapted for schools, hospitals, veteran centers, and prisons.
No one wants to wake up miserable to celebrate a new day.
Usually what is happening when we are miserable, during any part of our day, is that we are experiencing the opposite of contentment.
When we are experiencing a negative discontentment, we are allowing our thoughts to be either in the past, where guilt and shame live; or, we are in the future where fear lives.
When we are in the now, we haven’t as yet created any guilt, shame, or fears. In the now, there is calm, peace, confidence, contentment, happiness.
Since the mind and body work together to create balance and wellbeing, research studies have indicated that mindfulness is good for:
• our bodies: boosts our immune system’s ability to fight off illness.
• our minds: increases positive emotions while reducing negative emotions, stress, depression and relapse prevention.
• our brain: increases learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy.
• our focus: helps tune out distractions and improves memory and attention skills.
• fostering compassion and altruism.
There are many programs that offer the “how-tos” of living a personal, professional, stress free day-to-day life. A good start would be watching Kabat-Zinn videos through YouTube. Or check out “Six Mindfulness Exercises You Can Try Today” by Alfred James at http://www.pocketmindfulness.com/6-mindfulness-exercises-you-can-try-today/.
Imagine: Your body starts to wake up in the morning. You do a scan of your body and realize you actually physically feel well. You get out of bed, feet flat on the floor; you realize you are vertical and moving forward. A sense of excitement reverberates throughout your body, head to toe; you realize that you have been given a gift—a present—one more day to experience life. You consciously move one foot forward, experiencing each and every moment of the present.
THIS is creating a mindfulness life. No past. No future. Just the now. Calm. Content. Happy.
Glad we talked about this. Of course, it is just my opinion.
This column is reprinted from SPRINGFIELD TIMES, Springfield, OR, 8/27/15.