There are a lot of buzz words coming at us from the media. Recently, the the Washington Post ran an article about the the overuse of the word mindful. I do tend to agree with the writer that it appears a bit ridiculous (my word) that a burger joint is calling their beef patties mindful. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian I am not sure that term would be appreciated.
For me, being mindful was a stabilizing concept and action that really supported me during my journey through cancer and all the upheaval it created in my life.
Being in the moment became an anchor. It liberated me from the chaos surrounding me. It focused me on the here and now. I had a choice not to think about the pain and unpleasantness that had already passed me by. Focusing on the present moment gave me an opportunity to breathe, and that breath told me I was alive. It beat the alternative. The future hadn't arrived yet. No sense worrying about what might happen. I knew that this moment was all I had and I could breathe! Mindful moments became my mantra. To me mindfulness is far from being a fad. For me it became a way of living to my fullest. And now, as my journey through cancer is receding into the rearview mirror, it has become a place to find the joy in everyday life.
You are probably thinking how could I possible fit one more thing into my hectic life? My question to you is why wouldn’t you? It requires sixty seconds of your time, anytime day or night. No training, special equipment, or membership needed. The next question you might ask is what’s in it for me? Plenty! Here is the short list:
- Strengthens the immune system and physiological responses to stress and negative emotions.
- Improves social relationships with family and strangers.
- Reduces stress, depression, and anxiety.
- Increases well-being and happiness.
- Increases an openness to new experiences.
The simple practice of mindfulness is placing your focus on something specific, such as your breath or an object, to bring awareness and concentration to the present moment. Try it for a minute. If that works try another minute. It doesn’t have to be consecutive minutes. It is like exercise, you can gradually build up the practice over time.
Studies have shown that mindfulness practices positively alter the structure and neural patterns in the brain and strengthen the brain regions associated with heightened sensory processing and empathetic response. These studies suggest that achieving better physical well-being or psychological health comes from sharpening the mind to focus and be more successfully aware.They also demonstrate that the conscious ability to transform an individual’s mind is perhaps the greatest ability humans have at hand to shape the direction of their lives and positively affect the lives of others around them.
Go ahead, give yourself a mindful moment or two or three… You will not be disappointed.
To your good health,
P.S. If you are curious about the “real” buzz on mindfulness consider joining me at the Radiance Retreat weekend June 10-12, 2016.