Chris Brown- Health Coach
Did you know that May is Mindfulness Awareness Month? To fill you in on the how’s and why’s of mindfulness, we are handing over to our amazing Health Coach, Chris Brown…..
The importance of being mindful
The benefits of being mindful for health and stress reduction have been in the mainstream media for years now and a Google search of the word mindfulness will return you 26,900,000 results.
What most authors, speakers and coaches leave out is the idea that being mindful is not just a 20 minute exercise that you do twice per day. The benefits of mindfulness come into their own when you start being mindful during your daily activities.
So what is Mindfulness?
At its simplest definition, Mindfulness is being present in this moment in time and anchored in the sensations of your body-mind.
It could be paying attention to what you are doing at the time to the exclusion of other distractions in order to maximise focus
It can be being totally present with your body sensations and not letting your mental noise run your thoughts into the future or the past.
How do I get mindful?
Becoming mindful is deceptively simple. Sometimes it is not easy, but it is always simple. To get in some practice simply start noticing your breath while you read the rest of this post. Don’t try to control it, just notice the air moving in and out of your body. What can you feel? Perhaps your abdomen rising and falling, the air moving over your top lip, your ribcage expanding and contracting.
Now stop reading and give yourself the gift of 1-5 minutes of just noticing what is going on in your body, you may start by just watching your breath and/or you could notice the sensation of your body in contact with whatever surface is supporting you right now. The only guidelines are relax and just notice the sensations, they don’t need names or classifications, they just are.
So how do I use mindfulness?
The practical application of mindfulness is just as simple as the above exercise. All that is required is for you to do pay attention to what you are doing.
I am sure you have had the experience where you have been driving and all of a sudden you realise that you are at your destination and yet you have no recollection of the drive there. This is quite common and if you take the time to notice your thoughts, you will find that often times your body is doing something routine whilst your mind is somewhere else entirely.
Make being mindful a lifestyle practice by attempting to be present with whatever you are doing at the time. If you find your mind wandering off onto some other topic (and it will) just notice where it has gone and then gently bring your attention back to the here and now. The fastest and simplest way to this is to notice your body. Your senses are always in the present moment, only your mind can wander off. So if you feeling like you or life is spinning out of control, come to your senses!
It takes practice to be present and mindful of what you are doing. The good news is you have been practicing your whole life, you have simply not realised that you were practicing. Think of the times when you have been totally focused on what you were doing and the activity seemed to flow out of you effortlessly and with grace and precision. Those are the times when you have been the most present. All we want to do then, is make more of those moments by being present more often (and on purpose).
The results of being mindful will differ slightly from person to person. Below you will find some of the benefits that research has found and that I have experienced as I have tried to be more mindful in my life:
- Decreased stress
- Greater clarity
- Increased energy
- Better immunity
- Reduced blood pressure
- Lower anxiety
- Better sleep
- Improved productivity
- Better relationships
I hope you feel inspired to try being more mindful in your life, be patient with yourself and be present with your improvements.
I would love to hear about and benefits you notice from being more mindful in your life, so feel free to write me.
Till next time.