Mindfulness is an extremely important practice which can help alleviate stress, refocus energy and even help rid you of some of your chronic pain. Yet, despite its relative ease of adoption and range of benefits, mindfulness isn’t practiced by everyone. In fact, many people aren’t aware of how much they stand to gain from practicing mindfulness, nor do they know how to go about cultivating mindfulness in the first place. To help, the following three methods will act as a guide to boosting mindfulness, easy enough even for beginners.
Mindfulness is the “state, process, and practice of remembering to observe moment-to-moment experience with openness and without automatic patterns of previously conditioned thoughts, emotions, or behaviors,” according to the American Mindfulness Research Association (AMRA). AMRA also notes that better mindfulness can be cultivated through mind-body techniques, which aim to align thoughts with physical being.
Method #1: Focus Attention
In today’s day and age, having a smart device attached to at least one limb is just a fact of daily life. However, with so many trackers, alarms, alerts and email notifications, the daily barrage of tiny tasks taking up mental space can leave a lot of scattered thoughts in their wake. When that happens and stress creeps in, silence or turn off the devices and allow your thoughts to refocus themselves from the jumble. Focused attention from mindfulness can improve concentration, memory, learning ability and productivity, according to studies by the University of Massachusetts, the National Institute of Health UK and the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard University, as reported by the University of North Carolina.
Method #2: Pause and Meditate
Try to meditate every day, even just for a short while. In a study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, they found that brief mindfulness meditation sessions can reduce psychological stress as well as foster greater coping efforts. Meditation doesn’t have to be for a long time; it can be for a few minutes at first to warm-up. Start small and use a few minutes every day to reflect on bigger issues than your immediate circumstances. Meditation is quick, easy and has a wide array of health benefits, both for your mind and your body.
Method #3: Take a Break
Everyone is busy. Emails, to-do lists and meetings are just a few of the tasks greeting people every day. Without taking a break, the brain is working on autopilot when it gets tired enough. Space out every day for a few minutes, just to reprogram your mind and get the creative juices flowing again. Congratulate yourself on the day you’ve already had the work you’ve already completed. Break time can have a massive positive impact on the amount of output your brain is capable of. So, train your brain to take a break once a day and you’ll be on the path to loving life in no time.
Why Mindfulness Matters
The body and the mind are directly connected – this is the basis of the mind-body syndrome, also known as tension myositis syndrome (TMS). When your mind is out of order or unbalanced, it can damage the way your body operates. In TMS, the mind is trying to protect you from your own painful memories or trauma by giving you chronic pain as a distraction. This is not healthy and very, very painful. Reprogram your mind with mindfulness techniques. Train your brain to accept that you can handle the truth, emotionally painful though it may be. If you can do so, then your body may improve, and you can get back to the life you had before pain.