One of the fastest growing health trends right now in mindfulness. It’s no coincidence either as the pace of life continues to accelerate with no likelihood of it ever slowing down in the near future. It seems so many people these days are frantically rushing around but not really achieving as much as they’d like, especially when it comes to quality of life.
Why Mindfulness is Important
The busier we get in our lives, the harder it becomes to switch off and give ourselves the much needed rest and recuperation that our mind and bodies require. Most of the stress and tension we experience in our bodies actually comes from the thoughts we have and the emotions that these produce.
Not many people really understand that the stress and pressure we put ourselves under is mostly our own doing. We like to think that it’s the long hours we work, or the amount of things we have to complete on our to-do lists, but that’s not the case.
The reality is that it’s what happens inside our brain that produces the chemicals that either help us to stay calm and relaxed, regardless of what’s going on, or to fill our bodies with adrenaline and cortisol which are also know scientifically as two of the major stress hormones.
Mindfulness is a convenient, easy-to-do, and effective way, to reverse the affects of the busy mind by lowering the production of stress hormones and instead triggers the brains relaxation response. Once the relaxation response kicks in, then stress reduction and the many negative side-affects of it start to be reversed.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a miracle cure for being a workaholic. You can’t expect to push your body all day and into the evening without giving it a break and then hope that a few minutes of mindfulness will fix everything.
However, if you were to incorporate 20 minutes of mindfulness into your morning and evening routine, and drop some of the non-essential activities you are doing, then you’d very quickly find that your energy levels, peace of mind and overall quality of life improve.
Many people tend to think that they can’t slow down for fear of their lives falling apart but the truth is that it’s the rushing around madly getting nowhere quickly that’s ruining their physical, mental, emotional, and even financial lives.
Cultivating Mindfulness Into Your Life
The busier you are, the more you need to meditate. This might sound counter-intuitive because if you already don’t have the time to meditate, how could you possibly do more? The answer is – change your priorities.
If happiness, health, vitality, and peace of mind is important to you then you’ll make the time. I don’t subscribe to the, ‘I’m too busy’ syndrome that so many people buy into because it’s a load of nonsense. None of us ever do anything that we don’t value at some level whether we want to admit it or not.
I’ve come to learn that some people are simply addicted to being busy because if they weren’t, they’d have the time and space to reflect on what’s really going on inside them. Then they may have to look at what’s not working in their lives and that just might be a little too disturbing for them.
That’s why I recommend that if you are really busy, then perhaps it’s time to check out what your true values and priorities in life are. Then take the time to design your life around what matters most to you. Simply being busy and letting life push and shove you in every direction other than where you really want to go is madness.
I’m sure that none of us are going to be lying on our deathbed thinking about how we wished we’d been busier. It’s more likely we’ll be lying there wondering what on Earth we were thinking that we let our lives get so out of control.
If that’s you, or you simply want to find an easy way to switch off your mind for a few minutes a day so that you can clear your head and be more centered and present, then here’s what to do:
1. Find a place to sit comfortably for a few minutes.
2. Close your eyes and take 3 x slow, deep breaths right down to your lower belly.
3. Keep your attention on the breath coming in through your nose and out through your mouth.
4. Relax your breathing and just watch your thoughts come and go like you would watch clouds float by in the sky.
5. If you notice your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to watching your thoughts.
That’s it, you’re done! You can do this mindfulness technique for as short or long as you like but I recommend starting with 5 minutes and working up to 20 minutes by adding 1 minute per day.
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