Mindfulness extends to more than eating. Indeed, living mindfully means we’re “showing up” for our lives. Attuned to the present moment, we’re much more aware of and can better appreciate the good times. When times get tough, we’re much better able to make choices that support us.
Are any of these questions running through your mind about now, a month or so since you’ve been home working to become more mindful in your everyday life? We present them in a question and answer format below so you can jump straight to any question you have right now.
If we don’t answer all your questions, hit reply on this email, and ask them. We’ll answer them in a future email for the benefit of everyone else who might be wondering the same thing.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
They’re endless, including but not limited to:
- Increased ability to relax
- Enhanced energy, less fatigue
- Enhanced enthusiasm for life
- Greater self esteem
- Better concentration
- Ability to more effectively cope with stress; mindful practice reduces stress overall, which is implicated in most illness
- Greater ability to create change and end dieting and mindless food behaviors; mindful eating offers the ability to be in control rather than at the whim of our lives and food
How can I put the practice of mindfulness in place at home?
Practicing mindfulness is like anything else you want to make a habit of. It requires planning and a level of commitment. Beginning a mindfulness practice can be as simple as setting aside five minutes a couple of times a day. But, really, no extra time is needed. We can use something like our bathing time to tune into the daily actions of our lives.
Focusing on the breath and remembering to breathe fully and deeply, is incredibly helpful. Our breath is always with us, and it’s easy to tune into. Create a cue for yourself — a phone ringing or flipping a light switch can be a reminder to take a deep breath.
What do you find is the most challenging aspect of becoming mindful?
Changing our mindset, how we think about things, our expectations. Ninety percent of our brain is hardwired with our past thinking, so rooting out old, sabotaging messages is important. And that requires patience and support, two other things that may be in short supply in many of our lives. Indeed, one area we find a lot of our alums/past participants need help with is the attitude of generosity. Lack of self-compassion is a very common issue. We are often kinder to strangers than we are to ourselves. Catch yourself speaking critically to yourself and reframe it in softer, nicer language.
What strategies do you recommend to help someone who is struggling with these issues?
Getting back on track is as easy as remembering the affirmations you created at Green Mountain and beginning again to use them consistently. Revisit the affirmations you created in Mindful Journaling. Ask yourself if they are still relevant, or if you could change them to fit your “now.” Although this can be easily done, some of us may benefit from a little guidance and help in tweaking our affirmations. Re-committing to taking five minutes to breathe and clear the mind is extremely helpful. This practice will allow you to move into a place of clarity and renewal.
If I feel like I’m beginning to disconnect from the practice of mindfulness in general, where do you suggest I start to resurrect the practice?
Remembering relief is only a breath away. Five deep breaths start to change the chemistry of the brain and reduce the number of stress hormones while increasing the concentration of “feel good” hormones.
What are the dangers of disconnecting and letting the practice go?
Disconnecting is an expected part of any mindful practice. And by expecting it, we help ourselves more easily get back on track, without judgment. By creating the practice of mindfulness, however, we commit to reconnect daily, if even for a short time.
Typically, when we let the practice go completely, our default is to judgment and criticism. Then we run the risk of sabotaging our efforts and increasing our stress response.
Remember the attitude of Beginner’s Mind — any moment is an opportunity to begin again.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~ Victor Frankl