What Is Mindfulness And How Can It Help You?

Hello everyone. My name is Art McDermott and welcome. I’d like to take a few minutes today to walk through a presentation about how to use mindfulness to combat stress.

Very briefly my background is in health and wellness online, and I also am certified in mindfulness base stress reduction.

So this is a short overview, certainly not intended to be all inclusive about every aspect of mindfulness, because it’s a very, very, popular topic right now.

Mindfulness is gaining great momentum in the American culture, but many individuals are still unaware of the definition of what exactly the term means.

So we’re going to walk through that today. So our objective is to learn how mindfulness is used today, to understand how to practice mindfulness and reduce stress, and to incorporating stress reducing techniques into our daily lives.

Let’s start with a definition.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the act of paying attention of noticing what’s around us in within us without judgment. 

And that’s the key phrase there. If you find yourself being stressed, for example, don’t tell yourself why you stress that silly donut.

So there’s no judgment, right? We don’t want to do that. And that’s the key part of this definition.

Here are some ways mindfulness can improve your life.

A recent study showed that patients who practiced mindfulness experienced the following benefits:-

  • Fewer primary care visits.
  • Overall reduction in anxiety.
  • Improvement in the immune system.
  • Longer and better quality sleep with fewer sleep disturbances.
  • Reduction in negative feelings, such as anger, tension, and depression.
  • Improvements in the physical conditions, such as psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue.

Also the brain benefits tremendously from the regular practice of mindfulness, and memory improves, your ability to empathize with others improves, and self-esteem can improve. And obviously stress is reduced.

In fact, a lot of studies have shown that people who experience of large amount, and regular stress without mitigation of some sort are open to longterm brain problems. 

They compromise their long-term brain health. So it’s super important that people pay attention to this.

According to recent research conducted at Harvard and Mass general hospitals, participating in an eight week mindfulness meditation program appear to make measurable changes in the brains region associated with memory, associated with sense of self, empathy and stress.

The study documented meditation produced changes over time in the brain’s gray matter, which is related to anxiety and stress levels.

Practicing mindfulness where do you begin?

In the morning, for example, how are you breathing?

If you’re in the shower, what sensations and scents are you experiencing?

At breakfast where did your food come from? How does it taste?

Walking around at midday. Paying attention to your movements. While you’re driving, notice your body while you’re on the road.

If it were a practicing, breathing at lunch, be mindful of what you’re eating and avoid staying at your desk at nighttime, what was good and bad? 

What does tomorrow look like?

Throughout the day you want to set reminders to be mindful now be careful to change the schedule times occasionally so it doesn’t turn into a meaningless habit, but overall, you’ll notice about each of these examples you’re looking for ways to avoid rote behaviors.

Unfortunately, too many of us go through our day, not even thinking about our actions, just acting out of habit and pet regular patterns.

And these are not useful. These could be negative habits and we’re still following them.

So it’s very, very easy as you can see right here in these examples to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.

So how is mindfulness being used in the real world today?

Well, mindfulness is being used for various purposes in various environments, including with veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s use in preschools and elementary schools to increase, focus and attention in young students, it’s used in hospitals and clinics to reduce pain in patients. 

And it’s used in weight management classes with the practice of mindful eating, again, getting away from those road behaviors that bring so many problems to so many.

Here’s some easy ways for you to be more present.

Number one, meditate for five minutes a day. You don’t have to look at mindfulness or meditation as something that has to go on for hours. Like some cliche, a Yogi practices, this for hours on end.

It does not have to be that way to get the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. It can be simple as five minutes per day, journaling and expressing gratitude.

Gratitude is one of those things that it’s very difficult to be angry and bitter and distracted and anxious while practicing gratitude. They’re very mutually exclusive kind of things. And you can start each day with writing down three things that you’re grateful for. 

You want to practice deep breathing as needed. You can actually change a lot of your physiological markers in as few as three deep breaths, especially when you get good at the practice and you’re focused on it and know how it’s supposed to feel.

So be present in the moment don’t drop into a kind of pattern, rote behavior, mindless, action, kind of a pattern throughout the day.

Be present in the moment.

You can also incorporate the stop practice into your day and want to stop what you’re doing. Take a deep breath and observe your, your feelings and your emotions, and then proceed.

How can you reduce stress at work?

If you’re incorporating other simple stress, reducing strategies can also improve overall wellbeing.

For example, try to incorporate deep breathing exercises throughout your workday or progressive muscle relaxation.

For progressive muscle relaxation, you can tense and release your muscles by starting from your head and neck and working your way down to your toes. 

That’s one method of doing this and even hand or ear massage, which may take some practice, but all of these have been shown to reduce stress levels.

Just smile.

This sounds overly simplistic, but we often overlook the simple act, but those who smile are simply less prone to anger. So take a moment and get some giggles in to help you de-stress.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

On YouTube, find your favorite movie clip or a funny video.

Visit a favorite or funny cartoon strip, look up funny quotes or sayings. And all of us have seen enough memes by now to know that they’re really entertaining and can take your mind off of stressful situations.

Connect with people or animals. In today’s society. It’s very easy to do your work in an isolated manner, and this is a mistake. People who socialize more with others increase their longevity. 

Your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others face to face, or at least on the phone and share what’s going on. Interaction is the key.

Pets are also a wonderful stress reliever too. So take your dog for a walk. Spend some time where we are with your furry little friends as well.

Moving, all too often, especially in a workplace, you get stuck sitting in the same position in front of a computer screen for hours on end, but just moving regularly can increase self-confidence, lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.

And here’s some simple exercises that reduce stress.

You can do simple yoga poses. You can take a walk, you can stretch, you can lower your stress through strength training, one of my favorite actions that I encourage people to do, and finally giving.

Another easy and quick stress reliever is to give.

The altruistic actions of helping others is a great stress reliever. There are many ways you can help others.

Here are a few examples. I can make a meal for a neighbor who maybe has limited mobility, pack a coworker’s lunch, be the designated driver and give.

Mindfulness can be practiced by volunteering.
Volunteering is a great way to relieve stress.

Giving can mean monetarily or as the image here shows giving can be of your time to help others.

I hope that’s has been beneficial. We’re going to obviously dive deeply into the complete meanings of mindfulness, but I hope you got a great overview of mindfulness and how it can impact you in a day to day manner.

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