In a world filled with constant and demanding stimuli, we rarely find time to just be still. Actually, even when we do sit still, we squirm. Unless we have something in front of us to watch or play, we become restless, which explains our addictions to phones, computer screens, and apps. They act as wonderful distractions from deep rooted emotions: stress, panic, sadness, fear.
The healthiest approach to healing from these deep rooted emotions, however, isn’t running from or masking them. It’s facing them, and also, facing yourself in a mindful, calming way. Letting yourself feel the feelings fearlessly, while treating yourself well through it is the best way to GET through it. It also sets foundation for an improved worldview, healthier mind, and better physical health.
Mind No Distractions
Mindfulness is a period of stillness, rooted in the present moment. It’s the opposite of what a video game provides (distraction). It’s not daydreaming or ruminating; it’s peace and solitude in gentle moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, body, and environment. It’s an act of self-love and care–a much needed prescription for an often busy brain. In other words, it’s a mental state of awareness that functions as a therapeutic technique.
Mindfulness: It’s Not About Religion
The great thing about mindfulness is that it’s not associated with any one religion. It’s accessible to everyone, regardless of spiritual beliefs. It’s paying close attention to details in stillness, without judging the feelings or thoughts as good or bad. The thoughts are simply there, and you’re aware of them. There’s nothing discriminatory or religion-specific about that.
Mindfulness Improves Mental Health
Practicing mindfulness helps us gain more control over processing pain and other complex emotions–something Brown University researchers are calling a “volume knob” for sensations. Mindfulness meditation is thought to actually have a direct impact on the brain, with measurable changes taking place in areas responsible for memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. As seen by researchers in the psychological sciences, mindfulness-based practices have shown to be effective in helping problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive, substance abuse, and more.
Mindfulness Improves Physical Health
As mentioned above, practicing mindfulness has been shown to improve stress levels, which means it may help regulate the body’s physical responses to stress. In this way, it can reduce the risk of stress-related diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain, sleep disorders, and gastrointestinal difficulties.
How Mindfulness Works
Practicing mindfulness is quite simple and is often mistaken for meditation. While we sometimes call mindfulness practice, “Mindful Meditation,” it is not traditional meditation. Meditation is practicing mindfulness in a strict, structured way, while mindfulness practice is done more freely and with much less effort.
The practice can be as easy as taking 10 minutes each day and doing something you can do without really concentrating on the task itself–typing, driving, doodling, baking, singing in the shower, etc. At that time, you hyper focus a little more on the sensations being experienced physically and the thoughts that come up organically.