Hey there! Rach here! Welcome back to A Mindful Life!
Mindfulness has transformed the quality of my life. As a fun-loving introvert and recovering people-pleaser who has battled with anxiety and a chronic illness for most of my life, I had A LOT of bad habits to reverse. I longed to feel safe, have fun and live in peace. I’ve been building my self-awareness for years but I FINALLY feel like I have the tools in my toolbox to tackle anything and bring myself back to peace. And I want to help you to do the same!
So much of our experiences are tarnished because we don’t pay attention. We spend a lot of time in our racing minds, living in auto-pilot. We’ve lost the ability to stand still and find peace.
If we want to make changes in our lives we have to slow down and start paying attention.
I’m really looking forward to sharing the practices I use in all areas of my life. For now though, here’s a list of how Mindfulness has helped me and hopefully can help you someday:
1. Improved concentration – Because we’re learning how to pay attention in a particular way to one thing at a time, the obvious benefit is our concentration will improve. We can learn how to manage distracting thoughts before they take us off course.
2. Planning ahead and staying focused –When it comes to planning ahead, it an be very easy to get overwhelmed by all the things that need to be done which in turn can sabotage your efforts to get anything done. With a Mindfulness Practice we can have more control over how we engage with our thoughts. We can see thinking as a tool to be picked up when needed and put down when done. So rather than getting paralysed by overwhelm, we can stay focused on our list of jobs, action them and watch them be ticked off the list.
3. Emotional regulation and resilience. – What does that mean? If you find it hard to calm down once an upsetting or uncomfortable emotion creeps in, a good Mindfulness Practice can help you ride the wave back to calm. When we build our Mindfulness Practice we learn how to accept how we feel and allow it to pass without getting stuck on it for longer than we need to. We learn the difference between reacting out of impulse and choosing how we want to respond.
4. Decision making – A sound decision is one based on a balance of feeling and logic. Have you ever found yourself weighing up the pros and cons of a decision, felt completely justified by your choice but it felt wrong in your gut? A good Mindfulness Practice can help build our self awareness of both thoughts and feelings, so when we are stuck in our head thinking ahead we have the tools to take a step back and dip in to how we’re feeling right here and now also.
“You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” – Dr Phil
5. Manage doubts and achieve goals – We all have an inner critic that plays a vital role in our life. Just when you’re about to take that step outside your comfort zone into the unfamiliar it chimes in with a barrage of negative thoughts and induces doubt. It means well, it’s trying to keep us safe, comfortable and free of embarrassment. But what does that mean for your goals and aspirations that inevitably take you out of your comfort zone? “You can’t do that! Who do you think you are? Sit back down there now and don’t even bother trying!” A good Mindfulness Practice can help us notice when those thoughts are coming up and disengage from them before they consume us with doubt or dread.
6. Build Self–esteem – Part of building self esteem is managing those self-critical thoughts. Another part is being able to see and feel the difference between who you are as person vs how you think and feel. A good Mindfulness Practice helps us disengage from our thoughts and feelings and view them without judgement. Without being attached to them, you can start to build a sense of who you are.
7. Pain Management – Studies have proven that when we dwell and focus our attention on physical pain in our bodies, it intensifies our experience of the pain. In essence, we are getting emotionally stressed and creating suffering. With a good Mindfulness Practice we can shift our attention, manage the suffering and turn down the volume on the intensity of the pain.
8. Raising Self-awareness – When we are living mindlessly we are not paying attention to what we are doing. We are in autopilot. When we start to live mindfully, we start to pay attention to what we’re doing. This allows us the best opportunity to take notice of what’s working and not working for us and build our self-awareness. This is the best asset we have when we are making those big decisions in our lives.
9. Better Sleep – If you have trouble switching off from a stream of thoughts at night to fall asleep, a good mindfulness practice can help you disengage from those thoughts, unwind and set you up for a night of good quality sleep.
10. Better Memory – Because we are paying better attention to what we are doing, our memories are stored clearer with a good Mindfulness Practice.
11. Compassion, Kindness and Tolerance Towards Others – Part of building a Mindfulness Practice is learning how to be more compassionate to yourself and others. When we judge ourselves for thinking or feeling a certain way, we attach ourselves to unnecessary thoughts or emotions. By showing ourselves compassion, those thoughts and emotions can be let go. By doing this for ourselves, we start showing more compassion to others.
12. Improved Relationships – The number one reason for a relationship breakdown is neglect. When we don’t pay attention to a partner, child, friend or relative, those relationships will undoubtedly suffer. Being able to be fully present with someone, showing them compassion and listening to them intently allows us to fully connect. All things that a good Mindfulness Practice will help you cultivate.
13. Accessing your Authentic Self – In the same way that we can build self-esteem, we can get access to our authentic self. When we are young we are the purest versions of ourselves. Over time we let our experiences, other people’s opinions, cultural and society norms dictate who we should and shouldn’t be. We begin to build an idea of how we need to behave and interact with the world in order to feel accepted and safe. This is the process of building an ego and losing touch with your authentic self. A good Mindfulness Practice can help you get access to your true self. You can sit with yourself and start to notice who you truly are and what are the things in your life that take you away from that. You can start building a life authentic to you.
14. Managing a Chronic Illness – Living with a chronic illness can bring it’s fair share of uncertainty, stress and pain. It can be a vicious cycle especially if we are restricted in doing all the things that cultivate wellness in our lives. We may have restricted mobility or eating options. We may feel like a burden on our loved ones. We may have lost our independence and sense of purpose and meaning in life. By creating a good Mindfulness Practice, we can tackle our stress, suffering and sleep patterns, and find moments of peace to reset which in turn can help create an environment of healing.
15. Managing Anxiety and Depression – If you’re feeling anxious or depressed chances are you’re spending a lot of time worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. A good Mindfulness Practice helps us detach from those thoughts and engage full with the present moment. The amygdala is the stress alert messenger of the brain. Studies of the brain show a significant reduction in the size of the amygdala after 8 weeks of practicing mindfulness, further proving the benefits of Mindfulness on stress reduction.
16. Finding Peace – For those of you that live in a fast paced world, spend most of your time over-thinking, are easily prone to burn out and find it hard to switch off and find peace, there is hope for you. A good Mindfulness Practice can help you find the peace you’re looking for. Where you are content with sitting still and you can completely switch off from everything that you choose.
I could easily rattle off another 16 benefits but I will leave it there for now. If you’d like to subscribe to keep updated on my next post, you can do so below.
If you’d prefer to listen to me chatter than reading posts, you can find me over on YouTube too. I’ll leave the related video below.
If you’d like some help building your own Mindfulness practice, I have created a FREE 3-week Introduction to Mindfulness Practice course which you can check out HERE.
Mind yourself, and eachother,