Mindfulness put simply is being in the moment. Giving you undivided attention to what you are doing and paying attention to the details. This can be very, very , very difficult in a world that is constantly bombarding you with stuff. There is a lot of information out there and its coming so quickly. The average video on TikTok ranges between 15-30 seconds. So many people will "watch" a movie or TV show while also scrolling through various things on their cell phone. Ads are coming at you constantly from a banner down below or pop up screens. The news is everywhere all the time 24/7. I am old I remember when the news was on for an hour or so at night on just a few channels. It's no wonder our stress levels are so high!
With this overload of information trying to connect a person it can leave a person totally disconnected from what is going on around them. Just because someone is physically in the room doesn't mean that they're mentally in the room. When we are going through life scattered and disconnected it is not good for our health and wellness. This disconnect leads to depression, anxiety, memory issues, fatigue, digestive issues and so much more. Being disconnected can lead to a variety of mindless activities. A lot of people eat mindlessly shoving foods in their mouth that they may not even really be tasting. When we eat like this you can't enjoy our foods, much less make a conscious decision to be healthy about what we are choosing to eat. People may turn to more unhealthy habits like drugs and alcohol to try and cover up the feelings they get from being disconnected. If we aren't careful we can engage in hours and hours of mindless activity that may not appear to be hugely unhealthy, but it can affect your overall happiness. How many times have you sat down to check something on your computer, tablet, or phone and had hours go away just like that?
So, how can one be more mindful? There are many ways.
1. A simple way is to engage your senses when you are feeling overwhelmed. Stop and smell the roses as the saying goes. Notice how your feet feel on the floor or the temperature of the room. What sounds do you hear underneath all the noise? Do you smell something nice? What is around you you really start to pay attention to little details. What is the color of the objects on your desk? Do you have a particular taste in your mouth at the moment? You may feel the need to leave your current situation if possible. Maybe you are able to step outside. When you are away from the noise check in with all our senses again. Taking just a couple minutes to ground yourself can be helpful on an otherwise chaotic day. If it's decent outside going barefoot in the grass or dirt outside is a simple way to ground yourself and connect back to the earth. Engaging the senses will help you be more mindful.
2. Slow things down. Next time you eat sit down and slow down. Pay attention to each bite and try and savor the taste. Slow down before you even sit and eat and be mindful of what you put on your plate. Mindless eating usually means more sugar. Sugar is the enemy for focus. It has actually be shown in science that excess sugar will shut down pathways in the brain eventually leading to dementia in some cases. How can you be mindful if your beautiful brain isn't functioning properly. Slowing down in all things will help you to be more mindful in what you say and how you act. Have you ever made a rash decision because you were in a hurry? Um I have so many time I have lost track. So just take a moment to breathe.
3. Simply BREATHE. Being mindful of how you are breathing. Be Mindful If you are breathing and make sure you're not holding your breath. To practice breathing find a comfortable spot. If you can lay down because this means that your postural muscles don't have to worry about holding you up and you can really engage your diaphragm muscles and use your entire lungs when inhaling and exhaling. Lay a hand on your belly and one on your chest. Try and fill your lungs up like a balloon when you inhale making the hand on your belly rise while the hand on your chest has very little movement. This allows oxygen to enter your cells and give you life energy. By deep breathing and using your diaphragm you also eliminate excess tension and stress in your upper back, shoulders, and neck. Food for thought...the same place that so many of us hold tension (the neck, shoulder, upper back, and chest) is also the same part of our bodies where the mind and body connect. So if we can be more mindful in how we are living could this translate to a more relaxed state in this area with less pain and discomfort?
4. Be mindful in our movement. Being aware of how you move, or don't move, and your posture throughout the day is super important. If you have a sore low back or neck. Take moments during your day and really pay attention to what you are doing. Do you sit with 1 leg crossed over or under? Are you slouching and letting your head fall in front of your shoulders? Are you forced to sit a lot at work? Our bodies are not meant to be seated all the time. Our muscles are designed so that in order to move one muscle must contract while another muscle must release. When we are sedentary all day we develop muscle imbalances. Yoga is a great mind/body exercise that helps us to become super mindful of how we are moving.
5. Disconnect your senses. By turning off some of the senses you can think of it as a reboot to the system. When you start to come back to the world of sound, touch, and sight you have cleared out the enormous amount of information from before and this allows you to be more in the moment and mindful of your surroundings. Finding healthy ways to DISCONNECT from all the noise can actually help you to CONNECT to yourself and what you need. Salt Water Float Therapy can actually be a lovely way to disconnect and become more mindful. What is salt water float therapy? Salt Water Float Therapy started back in the 1970's on the west coast. Then they called it sensory deprivation. It was a great therapy, but lost traction with the fear associated with the AIDS epidemic. It has come around again in the early 2000's and has had some amazing science behind it's ability to calm the mind and body. In a Salt Water Float Pod you float in approximately 10-12 inches of salt water that has approximately 1000 pounds of epsom salt dissolved it. The water is heated to the temperature of your skin. You start to take away the senses more and more and allow your body to kind of reset if you would. So in this case you actually turn off the senses: touch (you don't feel the water after a bit), sight (the lights can be off), and sound (you can lay in silence). With Salt Water Float Therapy you disconnect and you can then reconnect the right way with the world when you are done.
6. Mindful Noses? We touched on the senses earlier, but I want to focus more on your sense of SMELL. Did you know that your sense of smell is the quickest way to change your mindset? The limbic part of the brain is located behind your olfactory system. It is in the limbic part of the brain that we control our emotions and behaviors. If you are feeling anxious you can smell lavender or orange and immediately you will start a chain or relaxation reactions. Essential oils are my favorite way to control what I am smelling. With some research you can find an essential oil that can change any mood you want. SO next time you want to reign it in and be more mindful use your nose. Smell your surroundings. If you don't like what you smell change it. You can change your mood with just a sniff.
7. Be grateful. The Thanksgiving holiday is approaching and that always reminds me to stop and be more mindful of what I have been given. It's easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day and the stresses involved with life that we can become ungrateful. So stop and make a list of the things that you are grateful for. Add anything and everything you can think of. You're able to read this blog so you have decent eyes, a smart mind, and access to a computer of a phone to read it on. There's a start for you. Think about the people in your life and the situations you have been in. Some of the people and situations have been good and some not so good. You can learn from the good and the bad. Sometimes I have found that I learn the most from the bad situations and can therefore be grateful for them in the long term. It's all about how we see the world. You have probably heard someone say you can 't change what happens to you, you can only change how you react. SO when you are able be grateful for the situation. It may take a while, a long while, to find something to be grateful for, but if you look for it you will find it.
In conclusion. Be mindful of your own health and wellness. When living life try to live more simply and do one thing at a time whenever possible. Give what you're doing you're undivided attention. You will actually be more productive if you solely focus on the task at hand. You can check things off your list more quickly and save time to just be. You can find more inner peace. You can get more Zen! Until next time....Namaste