Welcome back! Last week, we heard David’s story about his divorce, and how that horrible period in his life led him to find and practice the art of mindfulness. In his words, “it changed my life”.
This week, we visit with Rahana Bear. She is a fascinating woman with a lifestyle that is unique and refreshing. Do you live with a chronic illness? Know someone who does? You don’t want to miss this one, so grab a Cup of Coffee and let’s see what she has to share…(photo credit for field picture goes to: Jill Rene Photography)
Mindfulness… you have probably heard a lot about this in the recent years, but what is mindfulness, and how can I incorporate that into my life? First off, I don’t have all the answers, but I may be able to shed light on some.
In my journey, I started hearing about mindfulness over the last ten years or so, I heard about people using it in various treatment modalities and throughout different healing communities. I’ve heard several religions speak on mindfulness and have even seen organizations train their employees on how to practice mindfulness in the workplace. It seems to have become a pretty popular topic among anyone wanting to better their lives.
If you look up mindfulness in the dictionary, you will see that it has been used by Buddhists, but was most recently brought to light in Western societies around 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn. As a medical professor, he originally used the practice to work with individuals who suffered from a chronic illness. His work was eventually developed into the Mindfulness Stress Based Reduction (MBSR) which is now used all over the world for stress reduction, relaxation and for overall wellness.
As a Reiki practitioner, I have personally used mindfulness to help bring me back to balance and remind myself to stay in the present. Mindfulness has helped me in my healing, and I can hold space for others better when I am mindful of everyone’s intention in their healing process.
Mindfulness is a simple meditation for almost anyone to try, and it can be split into a few easy parts. First, find a comfortable spot to sit with your eyes closed, and take a few deep breaths to relax your body and mind. Then simply allow your thoughts to gently move through you mind. Become aware of what you are thinking, but try to avoid judgments within those thoughts. Once you become aware of your thoughts, bring your attention back to your breath and continue on. Mindfulness has no set time limit, but by starting with just one minute, you can eventually move to two minutes, three minutes, five minutes and so on.
Mindfulness has been proven to have many benefits and can help align people back to the here and now. In our present day society, we have been wired to think that stress is something normal, and that stress belongs in our lives. By far, this is one of the biggest fallacies people have been taught to believe. Stress is a term for suffering, and suffering causes anxiety, worry, and depression, which can all have negative consequences upon one’s life.
Stress is an abnormal response that can impact our bodies physically, and mentally. It can cause tightness in our breaths and pain in our neck. Mentally we can lose focus on our tasks and only see the negative or wrong in our lives, but by tuning in to those thoughts through mindfulness meditation we can move toward a more stress less life.
In our lives, we may have been through one of those days where everything we are trying to accomplish goes completely wrong, if so mindfulness can provide relief on days like that.
Mindfulness meditation can help turn off the stress response and help us gain tools and strength to focus on the now. It is normal for our minds to wander to those deep dark places we don’t want it to go, but by enabling us to focus on our daily tasks we can respond better to those wandering thoughts, judgments or assumptions. Mindfulness provides more clarity and uses our inner strength for more resiliency in our daily ups and downs.
Another healthy benefit of mindfulness, are the cognitive benefits. Studies have shown that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation can produce growth to the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that regulates creativity, emotional intelligence and happiness, and shrinkage to the amygdala which is responsible for stress and addictive behaviors.
Mindfulness has provided a positive impact on my daily life and this experience can be started anytime you have a few moments of silence. I would recommend that anyone interested, take a few minutes to try mindfulness meditation. It is a simple tool for a better life, and it has helped align me with my purpose and how to stay on track with those goals. There have been many times where I have been swayed to get involved in one thing or another, but if I use this as an opportunity to take some deep breaths and practice mindfulness, it helps align me back to the present.
With mindfulness, I have never felt worse after a session, only better, so I would ask that no one be afraid of trying it. If you are interested in mindfulness, please reach out to groups in your local area, search online videos, or join a Meet-Up where you can find other like-minded individuals that would most likely be willing to walk anyone through their first process.
Life is experienced through connections, and through that we learn different ways to see our world, our lives and the lives of others that we have impacts upon. If we can use mindfulness as a lens to alter that world for the better, then I would highly recommend that to anyone who wants to make tomorrow a little bit better than today.
Enjoy this video by John Kabat-Zinn. “Who are you”
You may also want to check this site out: https://www.nestmaven.com/sleep/aids/mindfulness/
Our Guest DO, Dr. Laura Rosch, loved this submission, and only had this suggestion to add (see below). She hopes that our readers will be brave enough to try some of these techniques. You would be surprised how MUCH this type of exercise can help you!
I’m touched by your comments about stress being an abnormal response to our daily life. I have almost reached the mid point of my 5th decade and thankfully have very few experiences where my ‘fight or flight’ response was necessary. However, it seems like my body didn’t want this wonderful instinct to just sit around and go to waste. So, even when the situation doesn’t really warrant that drastic a response, it gives me that response anyway.
As a young professional in the 1980’s, we were taught to try and harness all that stress and pressure to get maximum results. Looking back, I can see the foolishness of this type of thinking. But killing those habits is difficult.
This blog is a great introduction to mindful meditation..well said…. Jon Kabat Zinn’s book …Full Catastrophy Living is an excellent resources to those who want to learn more.