Mindfulness is a new buzz word. Mindfulness has been compared to a new form of yoga, a great way to reduce stress or even a more natural way of dealing with pain. But what is all this talk about? It is about living in the moment, being fully aware of your thoughts and your surroundings. A big part of mindfulness is practicing deep breathing methods and reflecting on your situation in a non-judgmental way.
Mindfulness is not tied to any religion or religious meditation. It is considered a part of the human experience. Mindfulness teaches basic introspection practices such as a body scan, breath awareness, and gentle movement exercises. These practices are basic life skills for learning to cope with stress, pain, and understanding what it means to be human.
There are seven life skills that are the foundation of mindfulness. They are:
- Learning to be a neutral observer
- Having patience with the process
- Looking at everything with a child's mind
- Trusting in yourself
- Focusing on being in the moment
- Acceptance of the here and now
- Learning to let go of thoughts and worries
So why should you consider mindfulness? Well, mindfulness can contribute to positive changes in the brain. It has been shown to reduce the body's response to stress, and lower blood pressure. It helps to improve work-life balance and allows you to quickly bounce back from stressful events or crisis. Mindfulness gives you relief from everyday worries, can reduce headaches and depression without the harmful side effects of medication. It can be viewed as a natural and holistic approach to better heath.
At a recent class on "Everyday Mindfulness", participants reported that they felt deeply relaxed, had a renewed feeling of energy and enthusiasm for life. Surprisingly, others stated that it had improve their level of happiness and creativity.
One technique that was shared in class that you can try out is called STOPping. When a nerve-racking event triggers stress or negative emotions, try STOPping it with these simple steps.
S – Slow down
T – Take a breath
O – Observe bodily feelings and thoughts
P- Proceed, considering multiple positive possibilities
By using this technique and practicing it you can learn to deal with more challenging situations with effortlessness in the future. Everyday Mindfulness Programs are offered to the community without charge. Check our website for locations or request a program for your group or organization.
Source: "Every Day Mindfulness" Publication, KSRE, https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF3424.pdf