What is Mindfulness?
Erm, it's, erm, well let's say ... Mindfulness, is an experience!
One I never thought I'd have that's for sure.
2014 I made a conscious decision to accept all forms of help, offered by my professionals and my closest people.
I gave in and trusted their pleas for me to embrace the chaos and 'Trust the journey' if you like!
Thoughts on mindfulness, initially.
Mindfulness was first introduced to me by my psycho lady! I came out of that first session thinking 'she' was nuts! I thought;
"Here I am, in crippling agony, confused, overwhelmed, stressed to fuck and she wants me to breathe and let things go!" "Wtf, I'm in it! Breathing, and letting everything go, so why do I need to be learning this airy-fairy shit."
You could say I was a little put out to be offered mindfulness as part of my recovery, seemed more like fobbing me off!
Mindfulness goes much deeper.
If you're feeling stressed/angry this thought dumper is useful;
Resistance to try
I'm not sure why I resisted for so long. It really, honestly, truly has been an experience.
Like, proper Enlightening.
Not just for me either, obviously after I did a few weeks of guided practices I began to feel like an expert in this field, and so my tribe became my unknowing subjects!
My brain felt so jumbled when I started, but over-time the benefits began to show and from then my journey with mindfulness took a real hold...
Mindfulness is all about focusing on the present moment, the Here and now.
A Quick Neuroscience Lesson
This part is your 'Conscious thought Functions'
- Bodily regulation
- Attuned communication
- Emotional balance
- Fear extinction
"Mri results have shown increased thickness in the prefrontal cortex and parietal lobes in the brain, these are both linked to attention control."
The Limbic System processes our Emotions, and the anterior insula helps bring Emotions into Conscious Awareness
Amygdala: Emotion-driven Fight/Flight/Freeze
Hippocampus: Explicit memory
Thalamus: Message control. Evolved Shaped by social and physical interactions. Connects left and right hemisphere
Brain Stem - Intuition
Instinct Regulates vital functions and flow of body messages.
What will Mindfulness do for you?
That's up to you really... Scientific papers out on the www prove that Mindfulness enhances our mental and physical well-being and can also reduce chronic pain.
Then there are Clinical trials showing that Mindfulness enhances the body’s natural healing systems.
So, you owe it to yourself, come on, you only live once and all that...
The main proven benefits of mindfulness:
• Anxiety, stress, depression, exhaustion and irritability all decrease with regular sessions of practice. Memory improves, reaction times become faster and mental and physical stamina increase.
• Mindfulness can dramatically reduce pain and the emotional reaction to it. Recent trials suggest that average pain ‘unpleasantness’ levels can be reduced by 57 percent while accomplished meditators report reductions of up to 93 percent.
• Clinical trials show that mindfulness improves mood and quality of life in chronic pain conditions such as Cfs/me fibromyalgia, lower-back pain, chronic functional disorders such as IBS, also in challenging medical illnesses, including multiple sclerosis.
• Mindfulness improves working memory, creativity, attention span and reaction speeds. It also enhances mental and physical stamina and resilience.
• Mindfulness is at least as good as drugs or counselling for the treatment of clinical-level depression. One structured programme known as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is now one of the preferred treatments recommended by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
• Mindfulness reduces addictive and, self-destructive behaviour. These include the abuse of illegal and prescription drugs and excessive alcohol intake.
Manage your wellbeing
Learn to use Mindfulness as a tool to manage 'your' well-being and mental health. You dont have to enjoy it - but commit to it, let the benefits unfold & you will end up loving it. Mindfulness is simply a method of mental training which enables us to see the world with greater clarity, helps us to let go of tensions and cut down needless stress, who doesn't need this in their life seriously?!
Just so you know... I'm not some mindful fairy floating around all day, I'm a messed up mindful mommax4 that is finding her purpose.
I still get stressed, fall apart and feel like a failure but now I do it positively.. I'm no longer bedbound so I'll take that... Boom... haha...
Good mental health is being able to;
- Make most of your potential
- Cope with life
- Play a full part in your family, workplace, community & among friends.
Focusing on the present moment
Stop fretting over past or future stress, it's so pointless. I really thought my mind had to be in these places, working things out, but I just got more and angrier.
Then the social stress in modern life: the fear of being judged harshly or falling short of expectations, this kind of stress is linked to mental health problems and disease.
Our thoughts tend to carry on generating further thoughts & unless we stop them in there tracks it snowballs out of control, this isn't good. It's time to observe 'your' thoughts more objectively.
When you're living your life on auto-pilot you fail to see the world in its beauty.
Also, we don't hear what our bodies are telling us, we miss the messages ...
Anything can be done mindfully, literally anything! Mindfulness is a habit which is developed gradually over time.
Calmly sit and contemplate your day before autopilot hits.
Don't fall into the habits of 'your' minds auto-pilot and learn to control where 'your' attention lies.
With mindfulness, 'you' get to choose where to place that focus.
- Washing up
- Making the bed
- Odd-sock plie
'Your' inner journey
Go on your inner journey & gain the self-understanding 'you' deserve..
So, when you're at the sink, huffing & puffing, listening to chaos in the background planning how the rest of your evening is gonna go, then overlapping those thoughts with a disagreement from years ago, obviously you getting the better outcome anyway haha;
- Alter your posture
- Both feet flat
- Relax your shoulders
- Enjoy the moment
You must give it your full attention, how it;
Feels - Sounds - Moves - Smells
(I Love love love the smell of washing up liquid!).
Purposely concentrate on whats happening.
Be fully aware of your intentions and effort, otherwise, it just becomes another mindless activity..
Chores done mindfully = Healing time...
Mindfulness really changes who you are in relation to 'your' own life, & to other people as well.
It has added a new dimension to my own experience in life and has definitely calmed the drama that seems to circle endlessly.
Pay particular attention to what works & what doesn't for 'you'.
Kind attention that is!
You are not your past actions... It's time to be happy now... You can so do this...
Have you already attempted to bring mindfulness into your life? How did it go?
Good look and take care.
*Link to Resources