What is mindfulness?
Life is full of changes, challenges, and chaos. It’s easy to be swept away by the seemingly endless list of assignments, tasks, and deadlines that continue to pile up without even noticing it. In your body, mind, and spirit, this may cause you to feel rundown. Once you find yourself feeling this way, it may seem almost impossible to wake up to the beauty and benefits of life. This can then make you feel utterly helpless and tired of your own life, and your health can suffer, both physically and mentally.
Luckily, even at the most chaotic or stressful times, there is a way to change your life. Studies have shown that mindfulness is a crucial technique for improving your body, mind, and spirit regardless of the situation, even in times of chaos.
Mindfulness is the idea of being present, but there is more to this than being merely present. We will learn in this article what mindfulness is and leading strategies for being more mindful. Consequently, during these chaotic and exhausting times, you can learn how to strengthen your entire essence.
Instead of worrying about the past, the future, or some other thing that takes one away from the present moment, mindfulness should be completely present. Being aware means being conscious of where we are, what we do, and how we feel. Moreover, it means being in contact with ourselves, recognizing our boundaries, and realizing our life goals and wishes.
It is possible to get swept away as human beings by thoughts other than the present. This causes us to be the opposite of our physical, mental, and emotional health, with attentive, wreaking havoc. Workplace tension, for instance, may distract us from appreciating our families, causing home problems. Mindfulness will help.
Everyone is deserving of mindfulness. Even though it may be hard, it will come in time. Our minds are very capable of concentrating on the moment and avoiding intrusive thoughts. Mindfulness training can be difficult, particularly if you have a big job at hand to think about. Mindfulness meditation allows one to reflect upon the moment, ignoring intrusive thoughts.
Understanding The Point Of Mindfulness
It is essential to consider what mindfulness can do for you and what it cannot. If you have unreasonable expectations for mindfulness, it could be easy to feel that being mindful is not working and give up practicing mindfulness altogether. Many people feel that it is about attaining some state of bliss to be mindful. Bliss is also defined as some state of perfect happiness that is unaware of other factors that surround it. It is necessary to understand that mindfulness is not about achieving a state of bliss. It is unlikely to achieve this state because there will always be problems and obstacles threatening this so-called state. Bliss does not, in other words, occur.
With that being said, mindfulness can make you feel happy about your overall life and more fulfilled, but it is more pragmatic. This encourages mindfulness to be directed towards a greater understanding of your life and self. It lets you see beyond short-term challenges and appreciate the life you have even in the tough times.
The point of mindfulness, for this reason, is to help you live a happier life. Living a better life means being happier with your situation, reacting to challenging circumstances more compassionately and rationally, and being more compassionate with yourself and others. Mindfulness is not about having a perfect life but about creating the life you want to live and are excited about.
Suppose you understand that this is the point of mindfulness. In this way, you will be able to set a concrete target for yourself in developing mindfulness. Your goals should represent what you want and what you have the potential to attain.
Mindfulness should not be about being absolutely in the moment all the time. People will become unmanageable if they continuously remain in the present all day, every day. It is mentally and physically healthy not to worry about the future but about the past, the present, or the future.
Benefits Of Mindfulness
Some clinical trials have studied the effects of mindfulness, allowing us to confidently know that mindfulness improves our overall health and well-being. Mindfulness can improve the following conditions:
- Blood pressure
- Cardiovascular diseases
Mindfulness also helps to increase attention, regulate emotions, and increase motivation and overall life satisfaction. Together, these benefits allow you to experience a healthier and happier life. Mindfulness is living in the moment so that you can have a happier and more rewarding life. As you continue to become more mindful, you will experience several benefits for your emotional, mental, and physical health.
Mindfulness In Times Of Chaos
Life is full of unpredictable challenges and complications. It is easy to get stressed, exhausted, and unhappy with your life in these stressful circumstances. Also frightening is humans sometimes ignore these feelings or ignore them as an issue once they occur. This causes the issue to continue recurring, generating a cycle of tension, frustration, and disappointment. We need to evaluate ourselves first and take active measures to improve the situation. In reality, stopping the cycle is very much tricky for some people. This feeling makes a person believe it is easy to deal with their emotions.
Many people mostly ignore their feelings whenever they feel like this situation is not “bad” enough to warrant their emotions. One dangerous thing humans do is comparing themselves to others. When you compare your difficult situation to that of another, it is easy to feel that your situation is not that bad and that you should simply get over it. This causes the situation to compound until emotions explode.
The True Meaning of Chaos
To avoid making the mistake of discounting your emotions, it is essential to recognize when a situation is complicated, challenging, or chaotic for you. Every person has their own limits, meaning you should not compare your chaotic times to others.
In short, a chaotic time is anything that leaves you feeling stressed, overwhelmed, overworked, or in extreme confusion. It does not matter what the situation or event was. The only thing that matters is how you feel in response to the situation. This can include your actual emotions, as well as how you plan to react to the situation.
Anything from a failed test to a death in the family can count as a time of chaos. It is essential to accept that anything that causes you to feel negative counts as a chaotic time. You owe it to yourself to accept this fact so you can learn tools to better navigate those times healthily and functionally.
Negative Effects Of Chaotic Times
It is crucial to correctly navigate our feelings and responses during chaotic times. Many studies have shown that chaotic events or periods result in costly and life-altering health effects. For example, poorly- managed chaotic times can lead to the following:
- Increased stress
- Increased anxiety
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Work burnout
- Poor relationships
How Mindfulness Helps You
It is necessary to maintain physical well-being during stressful occasions. Mindfulness is an excellent way of learning how to pursue your inner peace. The practice of mindfulness will help you grow emotional intelligence and better understand the matter at hand. By merely practicing mindfulness every day, you will be able to better handle any situation that comes your way. It will help you become more compassionate and resilient, allowing you to tackle all of life’s challenges confidently and eagerly.
Life is full of hardships, challenges, and chaos. If we do not correctly handle ourselves during these difficult times, our body, mind, and spirit can and will suffer. Luckily, mindfulness is one tool for combatting feelings of stress or inadequacy during times of chaos. It allows us to calm down, better connect to our rationality, and respond respectfully and compassionately.
Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness For Your Body
It is no surprise that being mindful and optimistic during chaotic times has a significant impact on your physical well-being and body. In fact, being mindful is one of the best ways to improve your physical health during chaotic and monotonous times alike. Let us take a look at exactly how mindfulness impacts the body. Mindfulness has been extensively investigated and has provided us with a great deal of study and evidence regarding mindfulness’s benefits on our bodies.
Decreases Heart Disease
Most notably, many researchers have found that mindfulness may be beneficial for our hearts. Since heart disease is a leading killer in the United States, it is imperative to take special care of our hearts in every way possible. Some studies have shown that mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation, which we will discuss in the next section, significantly reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in those with prehypertension. As a result, it decreases the risk of heart disease since it lowers blood pressure.
Research also shows that those who practice mindfulness have healthier hearts, allowing them to improve their breathing rates when exercising. Some heart disease people were randomly assigned a mindful practice in one study and then given a six-minute walking test.
During the test, that assigned meditation showed slower heart rates, a measure of cardiovascular capacity.
Increases Immune System Response
Another way that mindfulness impacts our body is that it improves our immune response. Whenever we encounter any viruses or organisms that cause diseases, our body sends out immune cells to fight them off. Studies have found that mindfulness affects these cells. More specifically, several studies have shown that mindfulness often increases T cells or T cell activity in patients with HIV or breast cancer. Though this is not proof that mindfulness will cure illnesses, it does suggest that mindfulness will improve biomarkers that indicate disease progression.
In another study, elderly patients were assigned either a mindfulness-based stress reduction course or a moderate-intensity exercise program at random. The patients who practiced mindfulness had an increased amount of protein interleukin 8 in their nasal secretions. This increased protein suggests an improved immune function.
Reduces Cell Aging
Everyone wants to live forever, but our cells naturally age, making our bodies age as well. Some studies have suggested that longtime mindfulness practitioners have greater telomere length or telomere activity. Telomere length is associated with cell aging. The longer the length, the slower the cell is aging.
One study found that cancer survivors who were prescribed mindfulness had longer telomeres than those who were not. In contrast, other studies.
Some survivors who practice mindfulness have no difference in telomere length but increased telomere activity instead. This increased telomere length and telomere activity leave scientists optimistic about the connection between mindfulness and cell aging reduction.
Why Mindfulness Benefits The Body
Whenever we experience stress, our body physically responds by sending out various hormones and chemicals. These hormones and chemicals are designed to help us act and problem-solve our way out of challenging situations. Though these hormones and chemicals are helpful in the short term for increasing productivity or problem solving, they are incredibly damaging to our body if they are released continuously. Whenever we find ourselves in constant stress, such as when we live in a chaotic time, our body responds too strongly.
Mindfulness, however, calms us down, which signals our brain to stop releasing the hormones and chemicals associated with stress. This then allows our body to recover and restore itself more frequently, making us healthier both in the short term and the long term.
Mindfulness And The Body Practices
To unlock the full benefits of mindfulness and the body, it is essential to know the best mindfulness practices related to the body. Here are the most popular mindfulness techniques that help to improve your body’s physical health and wellness.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a mindfulness technique that is specifically designed to manage stress and alleviate stress-related pain. Whenever you experience stress, your body often responds with muscle tension. Progressive muscle relaxation allows you to relieve that tension, thus lessening the pain.
How progressive muscle relaxation works is that it is a series of tensing and relaxing every muscle group in your body. When you intentionally release your muscles, it allows your body to relax, which signals your brain to feel less pain and stress and relax further. When you are new to this technique, it may be helpful to try it with an audio recording, which you can find online or at your local library.
- Lay Down – Start by laying on your back in an area where you will not be interrupted. Stretch out comfortably. Many people prefer to do this on a carpeted floor. You might want to avoid trying this technique on a bed since beds are soft and can inhibit your abilities to appropriately tense and relax.
- Breathe, Tense, and Relax – Once you are in a comfortable place, breathe in and tense the first muscle group. Hold for about four to ten seconds. Then, breathe out as you suddenly relax the muscle group completely. Do not relax the muscles gradually. Instead, relax them immediately or all at once. Keep your muscles relaxed for about ten to twenty seconds.
- Repeat Over The Entire Body – Once your relax/rest time is up, move on to the next muscle group and repeat the process all over again. When you finish all muscle groups, bring yourself back to the present by counting backward from five to one.
How To Tense Your Muscle Groups
- Hands – Close fists and squeeze, hold for five seconds then release.
- Wrists and forearms – Extend arms and bend hands back at the wrist
- Biceps and upper arms – Make fists with your hands, bend arms at the elbow, and flex your biceps.
- Shoulders – Shrug
- Forehead – Wrinkle
- Eyes and bridge of the nose: Remove contact lenses before you start practice if needed, and close your eyes as tightly as possible.
- Cheeks and jaws – Smile as widely as possible
- Mouth – Press lips together as tightly as possible.
- Chest – Inhale deeply and hold for four to ten seconds
- Back – Arch your back up and away from whatever surface you are laying on
- Stomach – Suck in as tightly as possible
- Hips and buttocks – Squeeze buttocks as tightly as possible
- Lower legs – Flex toes towards the face, then curl them downward at the same time.
How To Do Body Scan Meditation
The body scan meditation practice is a way to connect to how your body feels at that moment. Like with a progressive muscle relaxation practice, you can find plenty of body scan-guided practices online. Here is a quick look at how to do your own body scan meditation for mindfulness purposes.
Lay Down And Be Attentive
Begin by lying down on a comfortable but firm surface. A carpet or a floor with a mat on top will be best. Close your eyes and try to draw attention to the feelings around you. Feel the surface you are laying on, note your body’s heaviness, and try to detect the air temperature. Any time you feel yourself drifting away during the practice, come back to this step.
Begin to pay attention to your breathing. Try to slow the breathing as slowly as possible, making a conscious effort to elongate the exhale to be longer than the inhale. You might want to count your breath to keep your breathing even and deep. Many people start off by inhaling for four seconds, holding for five seconds, and exhaling for seven seconds.
Start Your Body Scan Meditation
When you are ready, let go of your breath on an exhale. Focus your attention now on your left leg and try to imagine your mind’s eye coming into the left foot’s big toe. Pay attention to any sensations that you feel, but do not move your leg in any way. Just try to hold your attention to the sensation of your leg. Press your attention to the other toes on your leg and continue the practice.
When you are ready, open your awareness to the top of the foot and slowly work your way up through the entire left leg, starting with the ankle and working your way up. Once you get to the top of the left leg, repeat the practice starting with your right big toe.
Work Your Way Up
Once you repeat all of the steps on your right leg, carefully work your attention throughout your entire body, starting with the hips and then continuing through the pelvic region, back, shoulders, arms, hands, stomach, chest, neck, and head. Try to notice every sensation you feel, even when you are not moving.
After you have completed scanning the entire body. Open your attention even more so that you can recognize all of the body’s sensations at once. You might want to imagine that you are breathing into your whole body throughout this step. Whenever you are ready, you can open your eyes, stretch a little, and gently get up.
You may find your mind wandering to different ideas, memories, or To-Do Lists throughout the practice. Gently recognize the thought and then let it go whenever it has reached a natural conclusion.
Sipping On A Warm Drink
If you do not have the time for progressive muscle relaxation or a body scan, then you might want to try sipping on a warm drink. This mindfulness technique is excellent for incorporating your morning routine or coffee break, making it ideal for those on the go.
Prepare Your Drink
All you need to do is select your favorite warm drink and prepare as usual. Most people prefer selecting a non-caffeinated drink, such as warm lemon water or herbal tea, for this practice. Still, you can try this with your morning cup of coffee as well. It will work just as efficiently.
Breathe In The Steam Before Drinking
Before you start drinking, take a few deep breaths to get in touch with how you feel. Slowly bring the cup up to your mouth but do not sip yet. Instead, continue breathing deeply, inhaling the steam. Note how the warm air feels when it goes in your nose, into your body, and out your mouth. After a few rounds of this, you can start drinking your drink.
As you are drinking your warm drink, sip slowly. Pay attention to how the liquid feels on your tongue and running down your throat. Additionally, note how the warm liquid fills your belly after you have swallowed. Do this while drinking the entire cup. Once you have finished drinking, place the cup on a table and deeply inhale and quickly exhale. Note if you feel any different from before.
Mindfulness is known to help eliminate heart disease and anti-aging. You will notice an immediate change in your physique merely by the regular practice of progressive muscle relaxation, body scan meditation, or drinking a warm drink.
Benefits Of Practicing Mindfulness For The Mind
Just as mindfulness positively affects the body, it also positively affects the mind. In fact, mindfulness literally changes the brain, allowing it to function correctly. As a result, your mind is improved, allowing you to be a better learner, listener, and thinker.
Thanks to modern medical technology, researchers can study precisely how mindfulness and meditation affect the brain. Numerous studies have since come out, showing that mindfulness dramatically impacts the brain, allowing you to be the best version of yourself.
Improves Reasoning Abilities And Increases Attention
Practicing mindfulness improves reasoning abilities and increases attention. Studies have found that mindfulness and meditation boost brain activity in the frontal cortex, which is the brain’s area associated with rational thought, intentional planning, effective functioning, and emotional awareness and control. If the frontal cortex is more active, you can problem-solve and think outside the box in challenging situations.
Additionally, mindfulness increases brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex or the ACC. This area of the brain is associated with things like emotion regulation, self-perception, and attention. If the ACC is more active, you can lengthen your attention span, allowing you to focus for more extended periods and learn more technical content easier.
Together, these two benefits, namely improving reasoning abilities and increasing attention, allow you to be a better learner. You will be able to think of more effective problem-solving techniques as well as focus on whatever task is at hand.
The hippocampus is also affected by mindfulness. The hippocampus is responsible for making new memories instead of living in the past. Studies have found that patients with post-traumatic stress disorder or severe depression have a smaller hippocampus, which partially explains why these patients are less able to disconnect from the past and live in the present.
Mindfulness increases the gray matter within the hippocampus, which improves your ability to make new memories. When you make new memories, you usually are more content with your life in the present instead of focusing on things in the past. This generally allows people to feel more content and satisfied with their lives.
Regulates Emotions And Improves Compassion
Both the frontal cortex and ACC are associated with emotion regulation. As both of the brain regions are improved, so will your emotional regulation. As your emotions become more regulated, you can better see situations as they are, connect actual situations to your feelings, and live an overall happier and more content life.
At the same time, mindfulness improves compassion and self-compassion. This allows you to respond to challenging situations more understandingly and responsibly. It allows you to view yourself in a more positive light, which prevents irrational self depictions.
Helps To Connect The Right And Left Hemispheres Of The Brain
Mindfulness also helps to connect the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The right hemisphere is often associated with emotional and nonverbal processing. In contrast, the left hemisphere is associated with logical thinking and verbal processing. When the two hemispheres work together, you can better connect your emotional feelings with rationality and the outside world, allowing you to be more realistic.
The corpus callosum is responsible for connecting the two hemispheres. Scientists believe that the thicker the corpus callosum, the better your brain connects the two hemispheres’ ideas or processes. The thought goes that a person with a thicker corpus callosum can better understand their own feelings and relate them to real-life events, henceforth allowing them to be more responsible and realistic in their responses.
Mindfulness And The Mind Practices
Here are the top three ways to practice mindfulness to improve your mind and brain:
Creating A Morning Routine
A morning routine will help set the stage for your day. If you have a chaotic morning, chances are the rest of your day will feel stressful, chaotic, and unorganized. Put your best foot forward by creating a mindful morning routine that makes you motivated and relaxed for the day to come. Every person’s morning routine should be tailored to their preferences and desires.
With that being said, there are a few general rules that most people like to incorporate into their morning routine to make their days more mindful.
Put Down The Phone
Firstly, try not to use a device for the first hour you are awake. Use this hour to really connect with yourself and your senses, as opposed to Instagram or your inbox. Though this rule may be impossible to implement every day, try your best to avoid using your phone or device during your morning routine.
Set An Intention
Another essential aspect of most people’s morning routine is setting an intention for the day. Often, it is easy to fall into the trap of waking up, working, eating, sleeping, allowing our lives to be run on autopilot. To help prevent this from happening, set an intention that matches your needs and To-Do List for the day. Throughout the day, check-in with your intention and see how well you are doing.
Write It Out
Some people also like to journal or write a gratitude list every morning. Journaling will allow you to get in touch with your feelings and set the stage for the day, while a gratitude list will allow you to truly focus on what matters in your life. This will prevent you from getting bogged down by negative feelings or harsh situations that may come your way.
Affirmations are short but inspirational sayings that you say to yourself, either in your head or out loud. Studies suggest that repeating affirmations rewires your brain to think more positively and compassionately. As a result, repeating affirmations is one of the best ways to use mindfulness to better your brain and mind.
You can look online for affirmation ideas, or you can create your own by paying attention to your needs, insecurities, and anything else that may be weighing on your mind. For example, if you feel inadequate at work, create an affirmation like “I am competent and able.” An affirmation like this one will directly address your issues while still being easy to remember daily.
The only rule for affirmations is that they must be short. This is because it is obviously easier to remember a short sentence than a long one. Create affirmations that are to the point and catchy, so you are sure to remember them for multiple days at a time. It is essential to repeat the affirmation for several days in a row since that is how our brain becomes rewired. It’s essential to set the stage and set the tone for the day for yourself with a mindful morning routine.
Mindfulness And Your Spirit
When life becomes chaotic or complicated, it often feels worn-down, tired, and downright horrible. To live, you must use mindfulness to target your spirit. Although mindfulness does not make the mind grow, it does significantly improve the spirit.
Benefits Of Practicing Mindfulness For Your Spirit
Since the spirit is not a measurable organ like the brain or heart, mindfulness’s benefits are more ambiguous and less studied. This is not to say that mindfulness does not help the spirit. On the contrary, mindfulness is an excellent influencer on your spirit. Instead, it merely means that the results are not as easily measured or quantifiable.
Increases Your Well Being
How to improve your well-being has been one of the most frequently asked questions since ancient times. One’s “well-being” often refers to their health from a holistic perspective, including the body, mind, and spirit. To improve your well-being, it is crucial to focus on your spirit since it is often the most forgotten aspect of well-being.
Studies have found that mindfulness is one of the best ways to improve your well-being. It frees you from distraction, centers yourself on what matters, and diminishes rumination. Your spirit then becomes less restless, and your well-being is improved.
Increases Satisfaction With Life
One of the worst features of a worn-down spirit is feeling like life is meaningless or not finding satisfaction with life. If you do not like your life, it is easy to give in to the chaos and give up. Without satisfaction in your life, it is nearly impossible to overcome any situation, let alone a chaotic one.
Some studies have shown that mindfulness increases one’s satisfaction in life. One study actually found that those who practice mindfulness believe that their life more closely matches the life they want to be living or their ideal life.
As you focus on your spirit and become more satisfied with life, other aspects of your life are likely to improve. Life satisfaction is one of the most significant determiners of work burnout. The more satisfied you are with life, the less likely you will feel work burnout, increasing your satisfaction and work functionality.
Life satisfaction also improves satisfaction in your relationships. The old saying goes, “Nobody can love you if you do not love yourself first.” Although other people can love you regardless, you will not believe they love you until you love yourself. If you improve your life satisfaction, it is much easier to enjoy those around you and genuinely engage in healthy relationship patterns.
One of the most essential functions of the spirit is to reflect on oneself and truly understand who one is as an individual. Suppose your spirit is worn- down and tired. In that case, it can be difficult to understand yourself, making it imperative to use mindfulness to improve the spirit.
Recent studies have found that mindfulness is a great way to get to know yourself better and increase self-insight. Since judgmental actions and unawareness are the culprits behind inadequate knowledge of yourself, mindfulness forces you to take a close, honest, and compassionate look at yourself, allowing you to become more insightful.
As your self-insight increases, you can better understand why you make the choices you make and change the unhealthy behaviors accordingly. It will also increase your emotional stability since you will have a better understanding of yourself.
Mindfulness And The Spirit Practices
One of the best ways to improve the spirit is to repeat positive and true affirmations based on your exact needs. Most people’s spirits are worn- down because they believe hurtful and untrue things about themselves. Use affirmations to rewire the negative beliefs about yourself.
Here is how to create and use affirmations that actually enhance your life and spirit:
Reflect on yourself, your feelings, and your actions. Are there any feelings that keep coming up? What has been bothering you lately? What do you want to improve about yourself? What do you wish someone else would tell you?
Reflecting on these questions will help you learn exactly what areas you need to work on within yourself. If you skip this reflection phase, you will not create affirmations that actually impact your mindset, spirit, or life.
Create the Affirmations
Once you have pinpointed your weak areas, you will be able to create helpful affirmations. Make sure that the affirmations directly address the issue and are short and easy to remember. Since you will be repeating these affirmations, you need to remember them in a month.
For example, if your reflection showed you that you are insecure with your work abilities, create an affirmation that addresses the insecurity specifically. “I am competent and know how to fulfill my job” is an excellent affirmation for this issue. It is short, sweet, and directly flips the original insecurity on its head.
Affirmations take many recitations to improve your life. Repeat your affirmation morning and night, five times each, for at least one month. Even if you start feeling an improvement sooner, keep saying the affirmations for a month minimum. You may want to say the affirmations longer depending on your needs.
Your spirit is an often forgotten part of the self. Improve your spirit by practicing mindfulness. Doing so will increase your well-being, increase your satisfaction with life, and enhance your self-insight. Try creating and reciting targeted affirmations to become mindful of your spirit.
Mindfulness As A Growth Opportunity
Mindfulness is a great tool when things are chaotic and harsh. It helps us to connect with ourselves and the present, making us feel more grounded despite the chaotic situation. But what about when things are going great? Should you practice mindfulness then too?
Practicing Mindfulness When Things Are Good
It can be effortless to forget about your mindfulness training whenever the chaotic and harsh situations abide. Still, it is important to practice mindfulness during these times nonetheless.
If you practice mindfulness even on the good days, you will become better and better at mindful thinking. As a result, you will already know the tools and tricks to help you become grounded during the bad days.
Let us consider a sports analogy. Even the most athletic and capable athletes practice and prepare for a big game or meet. In fact, it is their practice that allows them to win and continually perform well.
Being mindful of good days is like an athlete’s practice or training: it teaches you what you want to feel like and prepares you for the bad days. This then allows you to be mindful on bad days, too, even when it is hard.
Growing To Become More Resilient
If you practice mindfulness all the time, you will be more able to handle challenging situations whenever they come about. This should cause you to view mindfulness training as a growth opportunity regardless of the point of life you may find yourself in.
Studies show that mindfulness increases one’s resilience, which can bounce back from harsh situations. As you become more resilient, you grow and learn how to tackle all of life’s challenges. This makes resilience one of the most significant markers for personal growth.
If you are not resilient, it is impossible to overcome challenges and adversity. Resilience should be one of the most important personal attributes to grow and nourish since you simply will not succeed without it.
Becoming More Resilient
There are four main areas that we need to focus on to become more resilient. These areas benefit from mindfulness training, so be sure to focus on these areas when being mindful.
Become more resilient by being compassionate to yourself and others. Although you need to hold yourself accountable for your actions, be kind, supportive, and compassionate to yourself. Do not say anything to yourself that you would not say to a friend.
As you become more compassionate to yourself, you will also find that you are more compassionate to others.
Accept facts as they come and distinguish them from feelings. Accepting a fact is not giving up. Instead, it is giving yourself a healthy perspective so you can deal with it actively, appropriately, and healthily.
Becoming resilient involves being open to new ideas and perspectives. Use your mindfulness training to get outside your comfort zone and be more open to new ideas, perspectives, and techniques for tackling all of life’s problems. Ask yourself where your comfort zones lie and figure out why they lie there.
Once you are open to new ideas, you need to be creative enough to visualize and execute the results you want. View your life as a journey, not a fixed point, that requires constant reworking and visualization. Use your creativity to create your ideal life.
Treat the good days as training days by practicing mindfulness no matter what. Being mindful of the good days will give you the emotional skills and endurance to become resilient and tackle chaotic days more efficiently.
Incorporate compassion, acceptance, openness, and creativity into these practices to further boost your resilience and growth.
Mindfulness Vs. Meditation
The terms “mindfulness” and “meditation” are often used synonymously, but they are not precisely the same. There is a good reason they are often used together, though. You can use meditation to become more mindful and unlock all the benefits of mindfulness for yourself.
Mindfulness is the act of being present in the moment. There are many ways to be mindful, such as through affirmations, a morning routine, or progressive muscle relaxation. It does not matter precisely what you do to be mindful, as long as you are authentically in the present.
Meditation is a formal practice that involves being mindful, but it is only one example of mindfulness practice. People often associate meditation with a spiritual practice. Religious and non-religious people can still use it to become healthier and more aware of the present.
When you think of mindfulness and meditation, recognize that meditation is a formal practice that involves being mindful, but mindfulness is not just meditation exclusively. Similarly, meditation is not just about mindfulness; there can be other meditation goals in addition to mindfulness.
It may help think of mindfulness as a general outlook on life that can be observed through various practices, such as formal meditation.
How To Practice Mindful Meditation
There are a variety of meditation styles to choose from. If you already meditate, then you can continue meditating in the style you are most comfortable with. For those who are new to meditation, here is a simple mindful meditation practice to try at home:
Set Aside Special Time
Life can be overwhelmingly full of deadlines, jobs, and errands. Set aside a particular time for mindful meditation to ensure that your practice does not get swept away in the sea of tasks. All you need is a little bit of time, a quiet space, and maybe a pillow or blanket to make the experience more comfortable.
Create Your Space
When it is time to do your practice, turn off all potential distractions. This includes setting your phone on airplane mode, dimming the lights, and telling family members to not enter your meditation space until you are finished.
If you want to use a pillow or blanket, place them where you intend to meditate. Though they are not necessary, they will make sitting more comfortable and relaxing. Also, set an alarm clock for however long you want the practice to be.
Observe The Moment
Sit down in your meditation spot and gently close your eyes. Allow your breath to flow naturally and let it deepen on its own. Take this time to observe the moment, setting the tone for your mindfulness practice.
Remind yourself that the point of this practice is not to quiet your mind. Instead, it is to pay attention to the moment, including your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. If you try to quiet these things, your practice will be entirely useless.
Be Kind To Your Thoughts And Let Them Come
Your mind is destined to wander during this time. Take the time to notice and appreciate your thoughts, no matter how big or small they may seem at the time. Be honest and kind to the thought as well, always remembering to talk to yourself the way you would talk to a stranger.
As soon as the thought comes to its natural end, come back to your present moment. In everyday life, it is easy to let our thoughts ramble like a never-ending ball of yarn. Prevent this by happening by coming back to your present.
Finish Your Mindful Meditation
Whenever your time is up, take the time to note if you feel any different. Doing this will allow you to learn from the meditation and do better in the future. If you need help understanding your feelings, take the time to journal about the experience and really reflect on it.
Meditation is an excellent practice for your mindfulness. Even though it is not exactly the same as mindfulness, it is a tool to connect with the present to become more mindful in a formal setting. If you decide to meditate, remember to be kind to yourself, accept thoughts, and reflect on the experience. Doing so will maximize the effects of the meditation.
So far, we have looked at how to be mindful during chaotic times and be mindful of the body, mind, spirit, and growth. We have not looked at how to put all of these pieces together to have a more holistic view of mindfulness.
Why Holistic Mindfulness Matters
If you only focus on one aspect of mindfulness, you will see some improvement, but you will not reach your desired results. Use various mindfulness practices to focus on the body, mind, and spirit as equally important aspects of your well-being.
Several studies have shown that viewing the mind, body, and spirit as separate entities has several adverse health effects on your body. For example, those who distinguish between the spirit and body are more likely to practice unhealthy habits such as avoiding exercise or eating unhealthily. Though it might sound odd that separating the mind and body results in harmful practices, it is true. If you do not view them together, your mind does not think to connect your everyday lives and actions to either physical consequences or mental consequences.
This should encourage you to view all three aspects concerning one another. If your mind is not healthy, then your spirit and body probably are not either. Similarly, it can be difficult to be mentally and spiritually healthy if your body is not taken care of. Take care of your entire well-being by placing significance and connectivity on the body, mind, and spirit.
Mindfulness works in the same way. Suppose you only focus on one aspect of mindfulness. In that case, the same will happen: your mindfulness abilities will be hindered, and you might not see the point in the practice anymore.
Avoid this mistake by viewing mindfulness as an intimate connection between the body, mind, and spirit. To improve any aspect of your self’s mindfulness is to improve all aspects.
How To Practice Holistic Mindfulness
The easiest way to practice holistic mindfulness is to incorporate all aspects into every mindfulness practice. If you noticed, in almost all of our mindfulness practice examples, we incorporated bodily senses, emotions, and mental clarity into the mindfulness practice. By incorporating all three factors, you are practicing more holistic mindfulness.
With that being said, some mindfulness practices are geared towards specific issues. Progressive muscle relaxation is one great example of a mindfulness practice that is more geared toward the body. There is absolutely nothing wrong with practicing progressive muscle relaxation. It is actually one of the best treatments for pain.
With that being said, you should not only do progressive muscle relaxation. Instead, incorporate another mindfulness practice into your daily routine to have a more holistic perspective. If you like progressive muscle relaxation before bed, try creating a mindful morning routine to create more balance.
Meditation Through Yoga
Meditation can be a great way to focus on all three aspects of mindfulness. Since there are a variety of meditation practices, it will be easy to find one you like. Many people find yoga to be a beneficial and enjoyable meditative practice for holistic mindfulness.
Yoga is a meditative practice that connects your body, mind, and spirit. Though it is rooted in ancient Indian philosophy and religion, it is often used today to exercise for your mind and body. By encouraging you to be in the present and connect your mind and body together, most often through the act of breathing, yoga allows you to take a holistic approach to mindfulness.
Most yoga practices recommend moving to your own breath. This will allow you to get your mind and body in sync through the naturally produced tempo of your breath. Even though this may seem like a silly idea, moving to the sound of your breath and thinking in junction with it is incredibly beneficial mindfulness and meditation technique.
You can start practicing yoga by going to a local yoga studio near you. If that is too expensive for you or you want to stay home, you can go online for free options. YouTube is an excellent source for thousands of free guided yoga sessions. Simply type “Yoga for mindfulness” in the search bar and select whichever video you want.
Always practice mindfulness in a way that emphasizes all aspects of your essence, including your body, mind, and spirit. If you only focus on one aspect, you will not become fully mindful, and your health will suffer. Try to incorporate all aspects into your mindfulness training through mindfulness practices mentioned before or through yoga.
Mindfulness is a beneficial practice to help you navigate through stressful or chaotic times. By practicing mindfulness, you will improve the body, mind, and spirit to grow and become more resilient. You can try various mindfulness practices, such as progressive muscle relaxation, affirmations, or meditation.
Always remember to connect all aspects of mindfulness, though. The body, mind, and spirit are equally important aspects to consider. Suppose you only emphasize one aspect of your essence. In that case, you will not receive the full benefits of mindfulness, and your health may suffer. We recommend trying yoga for a more holistic perspective on mindfulness.
Now that you have finished this explanation of what mindfulness is, I hope you are eager to start trying out some of the techniques and tips. It is good to note that mindfulness is not quickly built. Expect for it to take at least a month or longer to see any results of your mindfulness training.
Be patient and compassionate with yourself. Breaking habits is hard, and you are not a superhero, just yet, but you are incredibly special. Be proud that you are taking this first step to prioritize your health during these chaotic times. If you continue with these practices for a substantial amount of time, that is when you will start to see the results. Let me know how it works for you!