You may very well have heard of mindfulness before. The word alone might make it sound like just another wellness fad that sounds good but has no real effects. That couldn’t be further from the truth, however. It’s more a tool than anything else, one that can be used in a variety of different ways. It helps you become much more aware of what’s happening in the moment, including what’s going on around you but also your own immediate reaction to it and the kind of actions that certain situations encourage you to take. Here, we’re going to look at how this can really help you.
How do you use it?
As a state of being or a cognitive tool, mindfulness isn’t easy to simply “switch on” whenever you need to. At least, not a first. There are different ways to help yourself achieve it. Taking part in a repetitive activity that focuses on concentration, whether it be yoga or colouring, can help you get to a mental state where you’re much more aware of the body and the world around you. Meditation can help you become much more mindful of your thoughts and your past responses to certain situations. Even physically, breathing exercises and focusing on the part of your body causing you pain can help you control your mental response to that pain, making it feel much less unbearable.
Reduce your distractions
We all have distractions that get in the way when we’re trying to be productive. Whether we’re at work, trying to relax, or focusing on a hobby at home, our mind can be pretty cluttered. Mindfulness can help you grow more aware of what issues are plaguing your mind. Deep breathing exercises can help you remove mental chatter by taking a short break to become much more cognizant of your own background noise. By addressing it, you can tuck it away for later, leaving you free to focus.
Mindfulness can even potentially make you smarter. As you become more used to meditation and achieving mindfulness in the moment, it can have much stronger long-term effects. This includes the ability to use that sense of distance from a problem in real time. Rather than stress in response to a difficult question or situation, you’re more likely to take a mental step back, look at it from afar, and try to gain a new perspective on it in order to find a solution. In scientific terms, mindfulness meditation has been known to show serious grow in grey matter, particularly in the hippocampus region which plays an important role in learning and memory. You’re more likely to be able to focus in the moment, think creatively, learn new skills, and recall information much more easily.
Changing your most destructive habits
One of the reasons mindfulness is most often used in therapy is that it can help you become much more aware of what causes you to engage in self-destructive habits. From self-harm to dependency on substances such as alcohol or drugs, you can become more aware of the mental processes that lead you to engage in such dangerous behaviours. If you’re suffering from the effects of dangerous coping mechanisms, take a look at the details of any treatment plans you might see. Beyond helping to separate you from the temptation of those habits, you might want to ensure that is cognitive or mindfulness therapy that can help you identify the steps leading to them.
Learning why you do what you do
Whether it’s engaging in the destructive coping mechanisms mentioned above or simply learning why you might have an emotional overreaction as a response where it isn’t warranted, mindfulness can help you become much more aware of why you do what you do. These are becoming much more widely known as emotional triggers. By practising meditation, therapy, breathing exercises, or other mindfulness methods, you are likely to become more mindful in real time. This can help you work backwards, whenever you feel a craving for a certain habit or a strong emotional response, you can identify and start to recognise the triggers. This can help you avoid said triggers as well as learning to anticipate them and to have much more control over your immediate response.
Taking yourself out of your emotions
When you’re looking to quickly relax, having practised mindfulness in the past can help you get out of your own emotions and take a much calmer look at a situation. One of the reasons that deep breathing is so effective in helping you calm down isn’t just that it slows your heart rate and physically relaxes the body. It encourages you to take a mental step back. You can gain some perspective on the feelings of stress or anxiety you’re having, including what triggered them in the first place. Instead of being in a “doing” mode where you are focusing on your immediate response to stress, you are in a “being” state of mind, where the inactivity can help you better manage your emotions.
Look back with a new perspective
As mentioned, mindfulness isn’t just good for managing your emotional responses in the moment. It encourages you to take a relaxed step back in time to better study your own behaviour and responses. Often, dwelling on the past can come with a sense of regret of unease, because we have the urge to “correct” the mistake. Using mindfulness, whether through meditation or through apps, allows you to take a more objective look with the aim of simply better understanding yourself rather than trying to actively do something about it. This helps you respond a little better the next time you face a similar situation.
Mindfulness encourages you not only to become more in control of yourself but also to recognise why sometimes you might engage in behaviour that you know isn’t healthy. It’s become much more widely used in the world of medicine and therapy, but you can take steps to make your own personal life more mindful, too.
My word of the week is:
Sometimes, if I am honest I can get overwhelmed before the half term as the prospect of having two boisterous children during the holidays fills me with dread. However, I have to say it hasn’t been too bad. The boys love playing together and not too many meltdowns. I have been relaxed and that makes a huge difference.
My eldest has made me his first ever cup of tea. He was so pleased because he has been so desperate to make me one. It was a lovely little surprise. Don’t worry he didn’t just do it himself but with assistance from his daddy. Then he was like I want to get a plain cup and he wanted to write with the sharpie pens ‘I love mummy and daddy’ and it was like an awwww moment, bless him!
Hope you have had a good week,
Cheers for reading X
The world we live in feels noisy, we have constant buzzing everywhere you look. In some cases it is good to have noise for distraction or entertainment. However, I believe that there is a time for everything and sometimes it is good to be quiet.
Sometimes, when it is quiet you can think more clearer and listen to your internal monologue. You can listen to the thoughts more clearer and given them more order.
During times of quiet it is a great opportunity of productivity. With no distractions around allows you to focus and concentration on the job in hand. It means a better quality as you main goal is the one thing rather than having lots of noise in your head.
Being quiet when listening to others is really helpful giving the speaker a chance to express themselves and feeling that they are being heard can make all the difference to the outcome at the end. Even if they have no solutions giving the person that time to communicate without interruptions makes them feel as if something positive has been done and that they are heard.
It is good to be just in the moment and being mindful of everything around you, taking it all and accepting what life has to offer and taking that time to disconnect.
"The quieter you become the more you can hear.” — Baba
When there is less distractions it gives you the chance to take your environment in. That is why meditation is good because it slows everything right down and allowing you to relax. It is important to focus on the present and slow down. It can help your health when physically or mentally because your are less tense and more in control. There is less noise which equates to less thinking due to reduction in the information that gets into your brain.
Even if you do five minutes a day of quite time it can give you the change to slow down and enjoy that moment.
Cheers for reading X
I am sat here all alone with no noise bar me typing away on the laptop. I like this time as it is my time, quite with no need to think or understand silly little rules.
It is time to wind down and relax before I panic again how am I going to get through the next day.
One thing for sure is that I have made it through the day and nothing particular bad has happened.
Both my boys are happy snoring their little heads off without any worry so I take that as a good day.
My body feels relaxed as I am watching the sunset and the colour of the sky brightens my eyes.I feel safe without any threat, which I am forever grateful.
There have been times when I have been really scared with the unknown, decisions that were out of control. Lies and deceit form people who were meant to be honest.
But all that does not matter now as we have moved on, like the earth continuing to spin on regardless of what life throws at us.
I suppose my favourite thing about the evening is getting the opportunity to slip into bed where it is warm and safe. Knowing that I may not have everything but what I do have is love from my husband and children. You can get so bogged down and confused with all the messages everywhere that you can forget what is in front of you. I am no means perfect for starters
I am autistic but am grateful right now and feel blessed for what I do have. I have been know to moan and even cry myself to sleep with feelings of self dealt, confusion and hurt with life.
Some days I feel absolutely terrified to get up in the morning, I put so much thought into the detail that you forget the basics of putting one foot in front of the next.
Today is a different story, I take how feel and own it. I am learning more about myself through motherhood and just plodding alone like the rest of us.
Cheers for reading X