In teaching mindfulness strategies for over two decades, meditation really comes down to this. By working with your rational and intellectual mind, the effects of meditation trickle down and impact your emotions, your physical state, and your overall health. That alone creates a much richer life experience.
How Can These Mindfulness Strategies Create A Better Life? In addition to meditation, you can use mindful strategies to change your life. You learn that the thoughts flowing through your mind are not reality. What you do about those thoughts is the reality. Mindfulness is a lifestyle that brings meditation into daily action.
Mindfulness strategies offer a power that would take you beyond your limitations cognitively, physically, and spiritually. It will take some time to master the different techniques. All you have to do is maintain a consistent practice, and when you do, you will thank yourself for allowing mindfulness meditation to enter your life.
Mindfulness Strategies To Practice In Everything You Do
Check out this 3:00 video for simple mindfulness strategies from Cory Muscara the founder of the Long Island Center for Mindfulness.
Simple Mindfulness Strategy — Take 5
Take 5 is a great mindfulness and relaxation exercise to use with kids, adults, and anyone in between. I teach it in education, healthcare, and corporate settings and people love it. Try it out!
This is great information on how to practice simple mindfulness techniques in your daily life.
Here are a few easy mindfulness strategies you use can use to inject more mindfulness into everything you do.
1. Use short one-minute breathing meditations throughout your day. It’s a great way to stay focused.
2. When speaking to another person, really listen to what he or she is saying instead of preparing your response.
3. Chores like doing the laundry can be mindless. Instead of being bored, focus all your attention on the task.
Remember how much fun doing simple things was when you were a child? That’s because you were totally engaged instead of trying to get it over with. When doing the wash, for example, turn your awareness to the texture and colors of the clothes. Notice that just-washed smell. Make folding laundry a game by paying attention to how your hands move. Be in the present.
4. Few of us eat mindfully. We can barely remember what we had for breakfast.
Not only is gulping down food wasteful, but it can also cause weight gain. Focus fully on what you are eating instead of watching television or answering your email. Eating is one of our greatest pleasures. Treat it as such.
Prepare a colorful plate of healthy ingredients. Enjoy the aroma of freshly cooked food. Notice the texture as you eat. An orange will feel entirely different from an apple. Can you discern the different spices as they hit your palette? Make each meal a gastronomic and mindful adventure.
Savor each bite. Pay attention to the type of foods you eat. Sugars, simple carbs, prepared foods, and unhealthy fats can cause fatigue and lead to serious diseases. You want both your mind AND your body to be at peak performance level. Eat lots of fresh produce, nuts, wheat products, and lean meats and fish.
5. Slow down. What’s your hurry anyway?
Many of us take pride in being busy, regarding it as a badge of productivity. We race through our day without awareness like robots, rushing around without knowing where we are or where we’re going.
Racing through life mindlessly does not add to our happiness. Quite the opposite. Without living in the present moment, we are far more likely to make careless mistakes. When we physically slow down, we also slow down our brain.
Take time for a relaxing, quiet mindful walking meditation. Sit in a park and watch squirrels chase each other. Stop for 15 minutes and listen to your favorite music. Take a break and reconnect with yourself.
6. Like rushing through life, multitasking renders us mindless to the present.
We’re not focusing on one task but are scrambling mindlessly to do several tasks at once. We’re not accomplishing more, we just paying less attention and making more mistakes. It’s not only healthier but far more efficient to focus on one task at a time. Life is not a race; it’s a journey to be savored. Effective mindfulness strategies help you stay in the moment as you perform one task, then the next. It’s also much less stressful.
7. Develop the habit of “checking in” with your mind.
Mindfully observe your thoughts and emotions on a regular basis. Become aware of how you feel when called to the boss’ office or pulling into your driveway at the end of the day. The more you do this, the more you will recognize “script patterns” as they pop up. This will help you control the torrent of negative self-talk instead of becoming overwhelmed.
Any time you increase awareness, you are practicing mindfulness. Keep in mind, mindfulness isn’t about always feeling positive. It means always being aware of what you are feeling.
8. Closely related to slowing down, and equally as important, is doing nothing.
Almost every day, someone asks us, “How’s it going?” We automatically reply, “Oh, busy, busy,” as if it were a badge of honor. This dialogue, which seems to happen constantly, is as mindless as multitasking.
Our energy level flows and ebbs, and downtime becomes a physical necessity to boost up our optimal performance. Instead of feeling guilty for spending an afternoon relaxing at the beach or enjoying a movie, schedule it in as a mindfulness strategies lifestyle on a regular basis.
The benefit of regular downtime is that we can sit back and simply enjoy the present while using all our senses. Smell the flowers, hear the birds, watch a puppy frolic and enjoy all that life has of offer more and in greater detail.
The benefits of mindfulness strategies to better understand yourself
As you learn to understand yourself, you will develop a better understanding of why you act in certain ways. Some habits may be helpful, but other automatic behavior may be holding you back. That’s what makes mindful meditation so effective. Greater awareness leads to opening doors in many areas of your life.
Recent studies on mindfulness have shown that the benefits of regular mindful meditation go far from what was originally believed. The mind and body do work together as a team. The practice has shifted from guru-led-hippies chanting to scientific studies at institutions such as John Hopkins University and physicians recommending the practice to their patients. And the results have been phenomenal.
Let’s take a look at some of the proven benefits of mindfulness strategies.
1. Mindful Meditation Can Reduce Pain Many Of Us Suffer From, Both Physical and Mental
While mindful meditation is not a cure-all, studies have shown it can greater alleviate the suffering. In clinical trials, mindful meditation has shown that mindful meditators experience over 50 percent less chronic pain, while long term meditators have reduced their chronic pain by 90 percent.
How is that possible? Pain can come in two forms: physical and mental. When the brain reacts negatively to pain, the pain becomes amplified. By controlling how we react to the pain, we can greatly reduce its intensity. Mindful meditation includes actually focusing on the areas of the body that feels pain, observe, and release the struggle both physically and mentally.
2. Mindful Meditation Can Improve Sexual Experience By Effective Communication
Many people find it difficult to discuss sexual dysfunction, even though it can be a pervasive problem. From low libido, poor self-esteem, and body image to feelings of anxiety and depression, the brain can wreak havoc with sexual enjoyment. Non-judgmental mindfulness enables partners to communicate more effectively about sexual needs and concerns.
3. Mindful Meditation Can Improve Our Moods By Living In The Moment
We all have “moods.” The happiest person can feel down for a while, and the bluest person can feel up on occasions. But many people’s moods get bogged down with chronic depression and anxiety until there is little else. Research has shown that people with severe mood disorders actually show changes in certain areas of the brain.
People suffering from depression and anxiety frequently live in the past or the future. Their mind can ruminate on hurts and injustices that happened years ago, with mental narratives obsessing around “should have.” Or else, they can worry about things that have not yet happened, and aren’t likely to happen. Mindful meditation is the perfect tool to bring troubled thoughts back to the present.
4. Mindful Meditation Enhances Empathy And Compassion For Others
Stress, anxiety, and depression can keep the brain stuck in negativity and self-absorption, thus reducing opportunities for compassion and empathy toward others. Through mindful meditation, the brain can be retrained to enhance these positive emotions.
5. Mindful Meditation Can Enhance Focus In An Over Tasked World
We live in a world of distractions. People proudly boast of multitasking, although multitasking decreases efficiency rather than increasing productivity. When we check email while on the phone and at the same time read an important report, neither task has our full attention.
Our brain, too, can “multitask.” When we need our attention on a project, it can intrude with worries about unpaid bills, an unhappy relationship, and an updating event for the weekend. And while our mind is attempting to deal with this mental tsunami, we remember an overdue library book and phone messages we failed to return.
For many people, this out-of-focus state of mind is a normal occurrence. When the brain is overwhelmed with a flood of unrelated thoughts and keeps jumping from one thought to the next, it cannot concentrate on the task at hand.
Regular mindful meditation lets us control our wandering minds. We learn to recognize interruptions and set them aside for a more appropriate time. Mindful meditation allows us to get more done because it keeps our mind focused on the present.
6. Mindful Meditation Reduces Stress By Clarifying What Is Important In The Moment
We have already discussed that mindfulness strategies will relieve stress. It’s critical, it bears a closer look. We experience thoughts and emotions every moment of our waking life. It’s important to understand that emotions are neither good nor bad. They simply are. When negative emotions occur, we can either react, or we can acknowledge and move forward.
The problem is not the emotions themselves, but how we respond to them. These negative emotions are frequently caused by something that happened long in the past or haven’t even happened at all.
By increasing our awareness, mindfulness strategies keep us from dwelling on these negatives that are utterly irrelevant to the present. When our brain becomes jumbled with emotions, mindfulness helps us clarify what is important and what is not. As we let go of mental stressors, our body automatically functions on a higher level, enhancing health and alleviating life-threatening diseases.
Statistics from the Center for Disease Control reveal that 110 million deaths each year are the result of stress-related illnesses. That is a staggering number. Effective mindfulness strategies can greatly increase your chances of not becoming a statistic.
7. Mindful Meditation And Resilience – Welcome Change and Difficulty As An Opportunity
Bad things can happen to good people. To quote Nelson Mandela, “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
That is the essence of resilience – not our failures, but how we deal with them. Resilience lets us deal with the ups and downs of life. Change and challenges are seen as just another opportunity for growth.
Resilience is the ability to get back up after adversity. Due to the unpredictability of life, there will always be joys and sorrows. Resilient people are able to welcome change and difficulty as an opportunity for self-reflection, learning, and growing.
How we react to life’s stressors is a choice. We can turn fearful, bitter and blame the world for being unfair. Or, we can use mindfulness to change our thinking. We can’t control the world, but we certainly can control how we react to it.
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences showed that mindfulness helps people cope with hard times – and there will always be some hard times. Instead of reacting, mindful meditation allows us to hit a mental “pause” button and simply accept.
“Bad” feelings or thoughts aren’t the enemy. The problem is our reaction to those thoughts. When we use mindfulness meditation to become aware of these thoughts, we have the power to accept and move forward.
8. Mindfulness Strategies Boost Creativity Beyond Art and Music
By creativity, we’re not just talking about art and music. Every day, we face situations and questions where some creativity could move us to the head of the line. “How do I get the boss to notice my report?” “How do I approach this popular person and ask for a date?” “How do I dress for success on my limited budget?”
The reptilian part of our brain approaches these situations with severe caution. Its sole purpose is to ensure our survival, so anything new and different is automatically seen as dangerous. This part of our brain immediately calls for safety. Don’t make waves. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t do anything crazy.
Anything new and creative has a hard time getting past this reptilian brain. But mindfulness strategies can calm the reptilian brain and make it less reactive. This allows new, creative ideas to flourish.
Some of the world’s most creative companies, such as Walt Disney, General Mills, and Google encourage innovation and creativity in their employees by making meditation rooms available to their employees.
Studies have shown that people who practice mindful meditation are less rigid in their approach to new ideas and problem-solving methods. The next time you’re stuck while preparing a report, let mindful meditation help you stand out from the crowd that plays it safe and get noticed.
Mindfulness strategies give us control over ourselves, how we think, and how we behave. Our actions are no longer random and self-destructive.
Mindful meditation and other mindful practices can dramatically improve how you live each day. All you need to do is get started. Imagine getting to know the real you and reaching your full potential. Imagine enjoying each day to the fullest. It’s not magic. It’s about reclaiming our authentic self. There is much in life over which we have no control.
Begin slowly by meditating for just a few minutes each day, then gradually increasing the time. You may not notice the changes immediately, but they will happen. All you need to do is get started on this powerful journey.
What is the purpose of mindfulness strategies? Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the present moment, without any interpretation or judgment. When you are practicing mindfulness you can experience a decrease in emotional reactions and an increase in the cognitive focus of the task you are performing at that moment.
Why is mindfulness so important? Mindfulness helps improve our concentration and control habitual thinking that contributes to the high levels of stress that is so prevalent in our society. Mindfulness is an incredible tool to help you understand, tolerate, and deal with your emotions in healthy and constructive ways.
What are mindfulness skills? Mindfulness Skills You Can Use Every Day
- Observe. Observing is just paying attention, on purpose, to focus only on the present moment.
- Describe. Describing is putting words into the experience you are having at the moment.
- Participate. Participating is throwing yourself into the present experience during that moment.
- Bring nonjudgment and compassion for yourself when you are mindful.
- One mindful moment at a time. Experience each event in a rich texture of colors and sound.
- Effective practice in being mindful as often as you can to truly experience the wonder of life.