Mindfulness isn’t difficult – we just need to remember to do it!
– Sharon Salzberg, New York Times bestselling author and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices.
First of all, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness by definition according to google is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
What can mindfulness do for you and why is it so important?
Mindfulness will optimize every human experience you have on Earth.
Mindfulness will allow you to enjoy your food more and mindfulness will open your eyes to the beauty of the trees. Mindfulness will give you the Earthly massage of the wind blowing against your skin and mindfulness will help deepen the relationship with the people you care about most.
Mental Health benefits of mindfulness…
The two most common mental health challenges that we all face are anxiety and depression. Where anxiety is thinking too much about the future, depression is thinking too much about the past.
It’s 2021 I think its safe to say that we all deal with some sort of anxiety – whether its anxiety about future work deadlines, contracting an invisible virus, stress due to an illness, family issues or what Donald Trump is going to tweet next… oh wait nvm. Anxiety is simply being too worried about the future, the “what ifs” about life. What if I get Covid and die? What if my family member gets Covid and dies? Future stress in the household because of tension rising. All of these things give us anxiety no matter how big or small so lets focus on preventing future anxiety by living more in the moment – the only problem you have is the one right in front of you right now.
We all deal with some sort of depression. We all get sad, it’s part of life but, what are the highs without the lows?! Sometimes our lows linger for a little too long and we begin to really become and identify with our sadness and this ends up turning into our personality – que depressed state. It’s easy to find something to be depressed about… your money situation, your career, seeing other people on Instagram looking like they are having more fun this summer than you… the list goes on and on. In order to fight depression and prevent more depression from coming into your life you must live in the moment and remain present right here, right now. Stop thinking about the past, it’s over, time to move on Charlie!
Are you depressed about your money situation? Good, take action right here right now to take control over your finances. I wrote a great blog about how you can take control over your personal finances and you can read it here: PERSONAL FINANCE.
Living in the moment to prevent future depression is the best way to deal with being sad about the past so do something about it! RIGHT NOW!
What does depression and anxiety do to our body….
Over 10,000 years ago when we were hairy and ugly cave men walking on all fours we lived a very simple life. Hunt, gather and have sex. Our only job was to hunt food and procreate. Even though it seems like a fairly easy task there were man-eating predators that we had to watch our backs over. Sabertooth tigers and man eating reptiles were always on the lookout for human flesh and during this time humans started to develop a “flight or fight response.” This fight or flight response turns our body into Superman mode so we can fight or run! Our body puts digesting food, fighting disease, and regulating our body temperature and heart rate on hold so it can focus all of its attention on either outrunning this tiger or going to war! Well over the years, magically, our body through survival of the fittest, changed its DNA to elicit this flight or fight response and encode it in our new DNA so that next time when we were in trouble from a sabertooth tiger coming after us for it’s warm dinner we were ready to act and act fast. So what does fight or flight response have anything to do with mindfulness, anxiety, or depression?
Well, fast forward to 2021 and we still have this flight or fight response and our body is physically breaking down because of it.
Why is this important…
When our body is constantly in flight or fight mode our central nervous system is sending signals to the rest of our body – the digestive system, the immune system, and the cardiovascular system etc., that we are in DANGER! DANGER DANGER DANGER DONALD TRUMP JUST TWEEETED FLIGHT OR FIGHT DANGER DANGER DANGER WHAT IF YOU DONT GET THAT WORKTASK DONE ON TIME DANGER DANGER DANGER YOU MIGHT GET COVID AND DIE DANGER DANGER !!! This is the signals that our brain is telling our body when we are living in the past or worried about the future. The brain is there to protect you and to do this it draws upon past experiences predicting what the outcome will be and sending you signals to act according to those past experiences. In order for our central nervous system, brain, and body to do what it does best and heal and digest and nourish and rest it must not have to be constantly in fight or flight mode.
How does this have a negative impact on our physical health and what does this have to do with mindfulness? Good question….
I am not a doctor. Whether you believe what I’m telling you or not the fact is we are living in a time of the world where chronic mental stress is at an all time high. This chronic mental stress is causing us and our family members diseases and illness. The importance of dealing with stress is not as important as preventing it and one of the best ways that you can prevent more chronic stress is through becoming more mindful of the present moment. One of the best ways to be more mindful and present in the moment is through a daily meditation practice or reminding yourself to be mindful. Meditating can literally be as little as 5 minutes a day. Time set aside where you just sit and acknowledge your thoughts and focus on your breath. Mindfulness reminders can be as simple as a post-it note on your bathroom mirror or on your car dash reminding you to live in the present moment.
5 ways you can be more mindful:
1. implement a daily meditation practice.
2. take 1 minute just to breath before or after getting in your car or elevator.
3. when you take a shower or wash your hands remember to be mindful and feel the water dripping off your hands or body.
4. watch the birds and lose all thoughts…
5. watch youtube videos on other mindfulness practices!