Updated: Oct 2, 2022
There is a lot of research that proves the many benefits of mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply being fully present in any given moment. It is easy enough in theory, but neuroscience is starting to show 95% of our reactions come from our subconscious mind. This is our brain categorizing a current situation from a past memory. Most of our conditioning comes from childhood. This is when our brain waves make us into little sponges, collecting information. When we learn to cultivate mindfulness, we learn how to stay present and judge situations for what they are in that very moment. We become fully conscious. Often the brain will add onto stories. This happened and now this going to happen. Anticipation could be a big source of stress. When we learn how to be mindful, we learn how to judge situations without the conditioning, speculation or judgement. We react from how we feel in the present moment. It helps us get a truer picture of what is happening.
Research shows mindfulness is beneficial for psychological health. People develop increased ability to pay attention, focus, and behavior regulation. Mindfulness has also been shown to decrease anxiety and depression. This makes sense we are harnessing our energy from past/future and bringing into the present moment. We have less stress when viewing life like that. You might ask, what if my present moment is hard. Would I want to image better days ahead? Of course. You still want to set goals, have hopes and dreams. You just don't want to miss the present moment comparing it to another or anticipating the next moment. Often when we are in hard situations our minds add onto the story. I could give you an example from my own life. I had Chronic Lyme and was in the hospital again. I was having difficulty with walking and even picking up my head. They had replaced my pic line at my Lyme Doctors request. I had a round of IV medication once before. Then one of the hospital workers came in to tell me the insurance company is denying the second round of medication, because they said I already had it and it did not work. When the woman left the room. I turned my head and said to my sister; "they are not going to cover it; I am going to lose my job and my health insurance." I was doing a lot of adding onto the story. My sister said " all you have control over is getting better. Focus on that." It was good advice. She was telling me to be mindful. In the end my negative fantasy was incorrect, my job and coworkers stood by me, and the insurance company did end up covering it. Image the energy I would have waisted without my sister's advice. Even if everything would have gone according to my negative self-talk, I would have been pulling energy from the moment in anticipation of the next. Being mindful helped me fight. In overwhelming situations fight the battle in front you before anticipating the next. Then your energy and strength are divided.
So how should we cultivate mindfulness. Jon Kabat Zin who researched mindfulness states " The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what we are doing."
In recent times we have access to huge amounts of information. We know not only what our neighbors are doing, but people around the world. Then when you attempt to be mindful you have difficulty. Practices like Yoga, Tia Chi and Qigong. assist us with cultivating mindfulness and quieting our minds. The movement, breath and focused awareness help us develop mindfulness
. We could then utilize these tools when life challenges us. I know during challenging moments of my own life I drew up the skills these practices taught me. This helps get us into our parasympathetic nervous system. From this place we could think clearer, our immune function happens, rest and digestion. I plan on doing some workshops/classes to help with the cultivation of mindfulness, because I believe it to be such an important skill. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook to be informed of upcoming events. Dr. Rick Hanson states " if we move through our day with an open awareness of the good things around us, we correct the brain's negativity bias." Let's bring our focus into this moment who and what are you grateful for in this very moment.