I like to start my articles off with a definition. That way we’re clear about what we’re discussing.
Today it’s about Mindfulness and developing The Mindful Habit. It’s a look into what being mindful of the brain and body is all about. Even though it’s not all about ‘sessions’ of meditation, I think you’ll find it quite useful in reading your body after you develop a baseline. I am including some resources I like for Meditation as well if you’d like to add that to your list of things to try or do. If you already practice meditation, you know a lot about mindfulness already. But there might be a few more tips here for you.
Being mindful can help you increase your success in your job, business, relationships as you become more conscious and ‘sensitive’ to others and opportunities. You’ll trust your gut feeling about situations. When you see things how they are, not colored by emotions or distractions, that’s when you can do something about it. Or choose to do nothing.
So not only is this about your body and brain, but the effects can carry over into your consciousness. For this article though, we’re going to focus on the body and the brain.
I like the definition of “mindful” a lot.
Merriam-Websiter online dictionary:
1. : bearing in mind : AWARE
2. : inclined to be aware
Some synonyms are: alive, cognizant, conscious.
Those words really make you think. …being mindful is being alive, conscious.
I’d like to add another one. Awake.
Often the implied definition of mindful is related to our mind; what we think, emote or experience. But I want to take it to another level. How to be more mindful of our bodies while we’re mindful of our minds. Being mindful can help with chronic pain or anxiety, helping to control our reaction to them. This article is not going to be solely about meditation, but I will direct you to where you can study that, if you’d like to. This is just about simple awareness of the mind and body. Baby steps, if you will.
We all have the capacity to be mindful, we just don’t do it. We have so many distractions in our lives these days.
We’ll go over how to be more conscious of the body (and our brains) and how things affect us. The body will tell us, if we are mindful.
“What Do You Mean By Mindfulness?”
Mindfulness is simply paying attention to your mind and body. It’s good to take a moment now and then during the day and look around you. How are you feeling? How did what you ate make you feel? Pay attention to the cues. I have noticed recently that noticeably makes my brain foggy. I’ll be writing an article about gluten and wheat in our diet soon.
The opposite of Mindful is Mindless. It’s when we eat, drink or do things mindlessly, without thinking. Like sitting in front of the TV eating chips, drinking soda, without a care in the world. You can still sit there and eat and drink mindlessly if you choose healthier options. , which is being mindful of your mindlessness. 🙂
For me, part of the mindful habit is taking a few moments to take my eyes off of my phone and look around. Look at the trees, the people walking by, the flowers, the sky. Really look. I also pay attention to how food makes me feel. Or how different brands of the same type of food make me feel.
Does it make me ‘foggy’? Does it upset my stomach? Did it enhance my thinking? Or make me want to fall asleep? Did it weigh me down? Or did it truly energize me?
Of course, you could carry that forward to every area of your life. Relationships, activities and so on. Is this something I want to keep in my life, do I want more of this, or should I make some changes?
Being mindful is really quite empowering. Having the mindful habit changes everything.
This is also how you can start refining your diet toward those things that make you feel better! This is true for supplements too.
The Brain and Mindfulness
Being mindful means we see things how they are. We are in the moment. As a result, we’re not letting the imagination take us to a different outcome than what is. Extremely useful for anxiety or stage-fright. You can actually slow down a racing heartbeat by staying in the moment and not letting your imagination run away with you. Focus on your breathing. Look at your hands. Study the fabric of your clothing. Anything other than what you imagine could go wrong. Because nothing has gone wrong. Simply slow down and breathe.
There are actually empirical studies on mindfulness and how it affects our mental and physical health.
Here is a quote from an article from the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (Garland, E, NCBI, 2017), called “Testing the mindfulness-to-meaning theory: Evidence for mindful positive emotion regulation from a reanalysis of longitudinal data”.
Objects of mindfulness practice can include the sensation of breathing; the sensation of walking; interoceptive and proprioceptive feedback about the body’s internal state, movement, and position; visual stimuli such a candle flame or running water; mental contents such as thoughts or feelings; or the quality of awareness itself. Such practices have been shown to increase the disposition to be mindful in everyday life and to produce changes in neurocognitive function consistent with increased attentional control, emotion regulation, and self-awareness.
In other words, it works. Meditation and mindfulness increase positive feelings and actually change our chemistry (and reduce the stress hormone Cortisol) when we’re calmer and feeling happy. It reduces depression, anxiety and increases our quality of life tremendously.
Related Article: Detox Your Brain Naturally (And Why It Matters)
TedTalk Video: Paying Attention and Mindfulness with Sam Chase
Mindfulness is living in a state of being aware and awake to your mind, body, and everything around you. Becoming in tune with our bodies and brains is empowering. Keep a journal to record how different supplements and activities affect you. Being mindful puts us back in control. We can choose what we pay attention to. It gives us focus. Consequently, it’s amazing the ideas and thoughts you can have during moments of being mindful. Develop the mindful habit.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you did, please share it with your friends and family. But most of all, get started today. As always, I welcome your thoughts, experiences or questions. Please post them below and I’ll be sure to respond. Thank you!
Garland, E. L., Hanley, A. W., Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J. (2017). Testing the mindfulness-to-meaning theory: Evidence for mindful positive emotion regulation from a reanalysis of longitudinal data. PloS one, 12(12), e0187727. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0187727