Updated: Oct 8
Mindful practices have been used for centuries as a way to enhance and improve personal well-being. Through activities that raise awareness to our emotional state, we are able to gently guide and direct how our mental state can influence our physical, emotional and spiritual ones. The world has become a busier place. It has become louder, filled with distractions, and for many this creates a deeper sense of fear and worry. That fear and worry adds to our mental and physical pain, muddying the waters, making it harder for us to focus and concentrate. We become less present in the now and instead fixate on things in the past or project into the future.
Ever hear the old saying, "yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery and today is a gift - that is why we call it the present." Mindful practice can reinforce that concept by reconnecting us to the present in very deliberate and thoughtful ways. Through these regular practices we gain powerful reminders to stop the mind from wandering, gently guiding ourselves back to the here and now. As our thoughts are redirected, our ability to control our responses improves and we begin to approach things in a more intentional and insightful way. We realize a deeper level of acceptance that empowers us to live more connected - mind, body and spirit - to the world around us. Mindful practice makes room for a more meaningful and fulfilled life.
Benefits of engaging in Mindful Practice
Reduces feelings of anxiety and depression
Lowers blood pressure
Reduces chronic pain
Enhances mental clarity and focus
Empowers natural coping abilities
Why are mindful practices so effective?
Because they engage each of the senses, asking for acceptance so that we can appreciate the here and now and not only come to terms with our present environment, but truly be present in it. In other words these practices ask us to concentrate our focus, removing judgement, worry, self critique and distraction, they invite you to simply be. People who regularly engage in these practices find they are able to block out the disturbances and interruptions of the world around them. They acknowledge the chill in a room, the buzzing of a fly, the itch of hair brushed across the forehead and then turn their focus within, allowing them to sink deeper into a state of calm, peace and serenity. They move further away from negative influences and embrace the positive. They discover a freedom that comes from releasing fears, anxieties, regrets, resentments, and worry, and experience the joy that comes from calm, peace, serenity, happiness and love.
Examples of mindful practices:
The body scan
Various types of meditation
How to get started - a step by step guide for mindful meditation
Start by sitting cross legged on the floor or in a straight-backed chair.
Close your eyes and focus on an aspect of your breathing, noting the sensation of inhaling air deeply in though your nostrils and exhaling it out through your mouth.
Note how your belly rises and falls with each inhale and exhale.
Begin to narrow your concentration, continuing to raise awareness to the rhythm of your breathing.
As you feel more comfortable, widen your focus to other senses, now opening awareness to the sounds and sensations of the moment including thoughts and ideas in your mind.
Embrace and consider each thought or sensation that comes to you without judgment - it is not good or bad, it simply is.
If you find your mind begin to race or dart off in other directions, slowly bring your focus back to your breathing, as you feel regained focus and a calm return begin to explore expanding your awareness once again.
Repeat these steps as many times as you need to, for 5 minutes or 60! The longer you practice, the easier it becomes and the more effective you will find it to be.
Bottom line - mindful practices take time, effort, patience and practice. Like many things in life, the more we put in the more we will receive in return, and the more frequently we engage in these practices, the more confident we feel entering into them. These practices provide a healthy coping tool, a way to gain greater understating, a means to connect deeper to the world around you, an empowering way to approach daily life. There are a variety of ways to enjoy mindful practices, explore different methods until you discover the one that resonates most with you!
Are you an ambitious man or woman who's ready to feel strong, live healthy, and get fit? Discover how to take small steps to get healthy & fit without cutting out the foods you love or spending countless hours on cardio. Come join me inside my online Facebook Community - The Healthy Habits Club. It's where ambitious folks go for the tips, tools and support they need to eat healthy, move daily, and feel good for life!