What if one solution was to simply become more…mindful.
Mindfulness is the ability to be completely present, turning up to life, aware of where you are, your connections and what you’re doing. It is attention to the action without judgement; your attention to experiences with all of your senses. It is ‘being’ in the moment and opening your mind to what is in front of you, no matter what it is. Mindfulness is allowing the mind to rant, but not paying attention to what it has to say.
However, just like you have rehearsed so well to listening to your mind’s rant, it does take some practice to change what you do with it and how you deal with it. The good news is that once you are there, you will have the ability to reduce the head noise and embrace the fundamentals of being human, goodness, compassion, joy and happiness.
The practice of mindfulness has been scientifically proven to develop thickening of grey matter, which develops self-awareness, self-regulation, connection and compassion. The growth in these abilities leads to improved competencies in communication, emotional intelligence (EQ), team play and leadership skills – supporting collaborative and growth mindsets. This is the mindset that helps you set and smash your goals in life rather than letting your mind limit your ability to reach them.
There are four core elements to emotional intelligence
Self-awareness: The ability to recognise your own emotions for what they are and understand their origins. Self-awareness means knowing your strengths and limitations.
Self-management: The ability to delay gratification, balance your needs with those of others, take initiative and to pull back on impulsivity. Self-management means being able to cope with change and to stay committed.
Social awareness: The ability to be attuned to other people’s emotions and concerns, as well as being able to notice and adapt to social cues. Being socially aware means being able to see the power dynamics at play within any group or in an organisational context.
Relationship management: The ability to get along well with others, manage conflict, inspire and influence people, and to communicate clearly.
Life can be very stressful. We know stress affects our health (both mental and physical wellbeing), leads to destructive patterns and habits (binge eating, alcohol dependence, breakdown of relationships – just to mention a few), it limits us and our abilities to reach our goals and increases the likelihood of reacting (and overreacting) to situations, rather than responding to them.
Many of us are living with constant stress and anxiety; worrying about clients, kids, relationships, work schedules, home schedules and the endless to-do lists. Where and how can you create time for more? You don’t have to.
Mindfulness is about less doing and more being
One popular form of mindfulness is meditation. Meditation practices support being mindful. There are many forms of meditation, some of the most commonly known are: guided, mantra, visual, breath count, silence, walking, mindful and tree gazing.
MRI scans show that meditation decreases activity in the brain regions associated with stress. A reduction in levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the brain allows for a responsive state, rather than a reactive state. With a regular meditation practice, stress and anxiety can be reduced.
Meditation is something we can all benefit from!
Mediation for stress and anxiety
In addition to reducing stress, there are other health benefits such as having stronger immune systems. The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine researchers found that meditation lessens the effects of colds – something everyone would welcome. Don’t forget the reduction in stress also means the drop in cortisol which means if you have set yourself a health goal to lose weight, you may finally be able to shed those stubborn kilos too! A win-win.
If you’re new to the concept of mindfulness, I invite you to be curious, explore and play. Start with just 5 – 10 minutes of meditation a day, before you start work, in the car after school drop off, before gym class, on the bus, in the park, before bed or on your tea break – grab a headset and your phone, and do a quick guided meditation.
Guided meditation is a great kick-starter. It is a tool for any time, anywhere and for anyone. Ignite by EYI is an easy to follow, structured 7 day introduction that guides you into the world of mindfulness and meditation with guided and unguided meditations, breath exercises, reflection journal, educational videos and a 7 day planner, which is available to stream 24/7 on health and fitness streaming service, VARLAH – so you can now literally take your practice with you wherever you are.
Want to try some meditation for stress and anxiety right now?
Try one of my favourite 10-minute meditations below. Right now, take a moment and …
CLOSE YOUR EYES
Bring your focus to your breath.
Keep your eyes closed.
Notice your abdomen rise and fall.
Notice your breath.
Take your breath to your belly fill it like a balloon.
As you continue to breathe on the inhale count 1 and exhale count 2 …one, two, one, two
Relax and repeat taking 10 slow, mindful breaths through your nose and out your mouth.
YOU JUST MEDITATED
Mindfulness is one of the world’s fastest-growing health and wellness spaces. Its use in business, trauma, sport, education and illness (just to name a few) are accumulating and the power of the practice is being heard.
The evidence is in the experience.
Are you using meditation for stress and anxiety reduction?