Mindful

What makes us aware? Is it something we see or hear? Does a certain feeling make us mindful about what is happening in our life. Is it a punch in the arm, a red brick or the wind knocked out of us that will make us more aware of our place life.

My guess is that each of these extreme physical hits could make us more aware of our presence in the universe. It does not always take a physical awaking to get our attention. Taking a break from the race of your day can be a simple way to achieve mindfulness. Being more mindful has many great effects on your mind, body and spirit. Research suggests that there are several benefits of practicing mindfulness.

Here are a few examples:

Stress reduction. Many studies show that practicing mindfulness reduces stress.

Boosts to working memory. Research finds that mindfulness appears to have  an effect on immediate memory.

Focus. Mindfulness meditation practice and self-reported mindfulness were correlated directly with cognitive flexibility and ability to focus on a task.

Less emotional reactivity. Research also supports the notion that mindfulness meditation decreases emotional reactivity. When we are mindful, we are much more able to handle conflict without drama.

Relationship satisfaction.  Empirical evidence suggests that mindfulness protects against the emotionally stressful effects of relationship conflict.

Other benefits. Mindfulness has been shown to enhance self-insight, morality, intuition and fear modulation, and all functions associated with the brain’s middle prefrontal lobe area.

Alaska 2012 221Here are a few of my favorite mindfulness exercises:

Sound the gong: Smart phones have given us many tools that help us cook, map our destination, wake us, fill our heads with news, videos and music. Why not use  your smart phone for mindful awareness.  Set an alarm to chime 4 times a day to remind you to relax, breathe or be aware.

Opposites attract: Practice flipping your thoughts. When you are aware of a thought, try to flip that thought and think the exact opposite. For example, if you are thinking how pissed off you are about your co-worker or boss, try to flip the thought to the positive things you know about that person.

Blind faith: Throughout the day find a couple of minutes to sit back in your chair and close your eyes. Closing your eyes will heighten your hearing. Be aware and listen to the sounds of your environment.

Sensational scan:  A couple of times a day try to notice something about your body. One of my favorite mindfulness strategies is to be aware of my toes and how they feel throughout the day.

Sometimes we can get so possessed by our day that we forget to take care of our mind, body and spirit. Just like any living organism, we need to nourish ourselves to maintain health. Being aware of our thoughts and how they are affecting our mind, body and spirit, is an effective tool for achieving mindfulness.  In the personal spirit of Temenos, find mindful strategies that fit into your life and enjoy the path.

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