By: Laura Rice, MS of Paper Cranes Wellness Center
July 17, 2017
Mindfulness seems to be a popular buzz word today. We hear “Being Mindful” in the media, on college campuses, in our community, on TV and sometimes out of the mouths of children. It has always been a popular statement among the yogis of our world, while being their daily practice. The practice of mindfulness has the power of enhancing your mood, daily life, focus, attention, relationships, physical health and more. UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center defines mindful awareness as “paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is . . . It invites us to stop, breathe, observe, and connect with one’s inner experience.” It sounds quite easy, right? However it is not that easy with our current fast-paced, multi-tasking, always plugged -in, social media type society, we have to remind ourselves and others to “Be in the Present”. Those basic, old-school sayings that we have heard over and over really are poignant to being mindful. “Stop and Smell the Roses”! “Stop, Look and Listen”!
Mindfulness provides the opportunity for us to accept the uncertainty in life, to nurture our own uncomfortable emotions, to connect with the people in our life, to recognize our surroundings and gifts in life. According to the research of Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, the majority of our emotions last a mere 90 seconds. Allow yourself to feel the emotion and show some care to yourself. The more we push away the natural response of our emotions, the more they will pile up and release in unhealthy ways. Acknowledging our own emotions is so important.
In each moment, really try to “tune in” to the person you are speaking to by looking at them without distractions such as your mental to do list or phone. Look at the sky, mountains and beauty which surround us each and every day. Take deep a breath and calm your body and mind throughout the day while focusing back on the present. Slow down and enjoy each bite of your food. Remember that everyone and everything is out of your control and in place, manage your own thoughts with positive thinking such as “ I choose to enjoy this moment or at least to make the best of this moment”.
There are waves in life each and every day. Sometimes those waves are strong and push us down, other times they are calm and easy to float through. Each day the type of wave is uncertain. We can sit on the shore and wait for the waves but then we will be missing the wonderful moments as they calmly float by us. Or,we can enjoy the moments and live our life in the present while knowing that if the storm arrives, it too shall pass.
Here are a few ways to practice mindfulness each day. Just pick a few and practice each day, then add a few more.
- When you wake up in the morning, take a few minutes to think of a daily motto for your day. Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it for 4-5 seconds then exhale slowly, while thinking about your daily motto. Repeat this breathing exercise while stretching your arms, shoulders, legs, feet, back, chest, neck ect. Focus your thoughts on only your daily motto and the way you are feeling at that exact present time.
Here are some daily mottos or make up one that is good for you: Just Breathe, I am Strong, No Worries, It’s a beautiful day, I am worth it, It will be fine.
- Make time for conversations and really engaging with your family, friends and others throughout the day. Stop what you are doing and focus on the conversation. Let them know that you are really listening with your body language.
- Pay attention to your daily tasks and think about it thoroughly. For example, when you are cutting up an apple, think about how you obtained that apple. Think about the seed that was planted in an orchard, where that orchard may be, how it grew, the farmer that may have picked it, how it traveled to you. Try to appreciate the color, taste, smell of the apple and how it nourishes your body and satisfies your hunger.
If you are interested in learning more about Mindfulness, please contact Paper Cranes Healthcare at 480-704-3474