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The 7 things you need to know about mindfulness emphasises daily mindfulness practice. It is a lifestyle that I have been following for the past 10- 20 years, and I want to share some insights with you.
In my own experience, mindfulness has contributed and helped in so many subtle yet profound ways, including but not limited to improving my health and quality of life.
Mindfulness has also improved my concentration levels, decreased anxiety and depression levels, reduced my blood pressure and increased my confidence and self-esteem.
1. Mindfulness practice
Mindfulness practice is simply a meditation based on being present in the moment and accepting what is happening around you without judgment or evaluation. Mindfulness practice reduces continuous self-judgment.
It entails practicing meditation daily and then living mindfully by staying aware of your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad – this means acknowledging that they are there but not attaching any meaning to them – instead, allow these thoughts to pass through the mind like clouds in the sky while refocusing attention on what’s real in your life now.
2. Mindfulness is learning a new language.
Learning to practice Mindfulness is similar to learning a new language for the mind. Like any new language, you have to learn it. Learning this new skill takes time. You have to focus your mind and create new neural pathways and habits through repetition and practice. Mastering the new skill of Mindfulness is a way of living that has been around for centuries, and although it is continuously evolving, it has never really changed. Mindfulness teaches you to be aware of your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and how they affect one another.
3. How best to start?
For the best of 7 things, you need to know about mindfulness, set aside a small part of your busy life each day. Make the learning of coming into the present moment a habit. To do this, It is best if it is done at the same time every day. Start with 15 mins. This time will include getting to the room, settling down and doing at least 5 -7 mins of actual focused practice.
Try to avoid making time for your mindful life in the evening. This is a sure way to set yourself up to fail to keep your commitment. In the evening, we are tired, often hungry, and our willpower often drops. All we want is to be entertained and relax. Mindfulness focus takes energy and willpower. Try to make it first thing in the morning. Get up 15 mins earlier than usual, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, then find a quiet place to be alone and focus on mindfulness.
4. What do you have to do to practice mindfulness?
The fact is, all you have to do is NOTHING ON PURPOSE! This is harder than it sounds. For often, we confuse doing nothing with being distracted. The distraction of your attention and mind could be watching your screen, your phone or your TV. This is being distracted. Talking with friends is being distracted. Doing puzzles or games, writing, drawing, and reading are all distractions. So what is doing nothing on purpose?
Doing Nothing on purpose is one of the essential attitudes in being totally 100% present in the moment. In 7 things you need to know about mindfulness, Practicing mindfulness is not analysing, evaluating, daydreaming or making up stories, not thinking of what you have to do or what you did or didn’t do yesterday or earlier on.
Doing nothing on purpose is about keeping your attention focused. Practising mindfulness on what is happening NOW, in the very moment of your life, and maintaining the focus uninterrupted. It sounds easier than it is.
5. Being Mindful in the very moment for 5 mins
If you can understand just a little of how your brain works, it makes mindfulness all that easier to do. 7 things you need to know about mindfulness will lead you step by step on what to do.
Your brain has spent many millions of years evolving. The Brain has taught itself many ways to optimise the survival of your amazing body and our species in general.
Approximately 150,000 years ago, our brains began evolving the Prefrontal Cortex, which allowed Homo Sapiens to think conceptually, self-reflect and learn, becoming time aware and growing intellectually and capable of reading and writing and achieving many other creative and clever processes devised by our mind and brain.
This ability to think conceptually has many advantages over our animal cousins in the natural world and has catapulted our species to dominate.
However, recently, a mental health crisis has occurred. It has been found that many people in society are experiencing higher levels of anxiety, depression, and stress due to an increasingly fast-paced world. The Techno world was created in a short period of a few 100’s of years after the long slow, deliberate evolution of millions of years.
Why is this? What is this new conflict between the new Techno Age Sapiens and the originator Homo Sapiens?
Homo Sapiens was designed to reflect and react to threats in real-time in the Now. Techno man is anywhere else other than the Now. But we both share the same brain and the same functions of emotions and reflexes.
We have created a minestrone of thoughts, feelings and emotions. Floating and mingling together confusing what is and what is not real.
Modern-day humans can not tell the difference between an idea and a thought and a real-time reality. Yet will similarly react to each. Generating feelings and emotions form past experiences or projected ideas.
To separate real-life happenings from the emotions of the thoughts from the conjectures is exactly what mindfulness helps us do. It makes space in your mind and new neural pathways in your brain to self-see what needs attention and what is just make-believe. Thus saving the suffering of extreme emotional states.
Training your mind to pay attention to what is happening Now slows down and dissolves the fictitious hormonal secretions of the brain stimulated by the memory or projection of the new clever mind. Leaving you calm and happy, creative and positive.
6. Mindfulness makes Perfect, 15 mins a day.
Using your breathing as a focus of attention is a simple and effective way to activate your mindfulness mind.
Take just 15 mins a day to change your life.
For your 15 min mindfulness meditation, do the following:
Sit quietly in a comfortable position. Breathe deeply and slowly, counting five seconds for your inhalation and another five seconds for your exhalation.
As you do this exercise, please focus on the sensations of air entering through your nose into your lungs; feel how it moves down to fill up every part of your chest before moving back out again.
Notice if your focused attention becomes diverted from the breath. When it does, gently return yourself to the present moment. Do not judge yourself or evaluate the situation. Take another breath and start again.
Becoming distracted will happen!
With practice, we can stay focused longer and return to the feel and sound of the breath entering and leaving the lungs.
Just sit and breathe. Stay awake and alert yet calm and gentle. Sit comfortably and proud. You are present and focused.
Do this for a minimum of three, 5-second cycles, deep in-breaths with three deep 5-second cycles out-breaths. As the process of sitting becomes easier, lengthen the period you sit for.
After finishing, allow yourself to rest your attention on what you can see and feel around you. The sensations you are feeling right there and then. Gently, quietly and softly. Reflect on the 7 things you need to know about mindfulness.
7. Mindfulness will slowly yet continually change your brain and mind.
After you finish your practice, you will go back to your ‘normal’ everyday life. However, the effect of doing nothing on purpose will continue to resonate and affect the habitual neurons of the brain. Neurogenesis is the growth and creation of new neural pathways.
This effect is the subtle yet profound change in your happiness, creativity, and view of life. You do not have to try to make these changes. They will occur through the balancing effect within the mind of your daily practice.
By keeping a journal of your daily experiences, emotions and feelings, you will reflect and see just how much you will have changed over time.
Mindfulness is not an instant cure. It is a deeply profound long term shift in your perspective on your life.
Conclusion. 7 Mindfulness tips.
Mindfulness is something that you do not need to be perfect at. Mindfulness is a tool that comes to life the moment when it’s needed most, for your own health and wellbeing. The changes in your brain will direct you without your effort.
The simplest things are often the greatest treasures of life. The 7 things you need to know about mindfulness, including Mindful living, can help bring more balance into your lives by helping you see what really matters.
Using your breathing as a focus of attention is a simple and effective way to activate your mindfulness mind. Mindful breathing does not need to take a long time. Mindfulness is something that can be done at any moment, anywhere, even for as little time as the duration of just one breath.
And lastly, mindfulness helps us live with a positive intention by helping us see what really matters and how we might make choices from this awareness to create more balance in ourselves and those around us.