Find Freedom in Everyday Life with MindfulnessSep 04, 2022
In the words of En Vogue “Free your mind and the rest will follow.” But how do we free our minds? You could move to the Himalayas and renounce your job, family, house and shoes… or you could integrate Mindfulness into your everyday life. I love my shoes so I know what I’m choosing.
The term “mindfulness” gets used a lot, but what does it actually mean? Many people believe mindfulness is meditation, and whilst yes, that is a part of mindfulness - it’s not what it is.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the state of being conscious and aware.
To act and live mindfully is to be aware of your thoughts, behaviours and actions.
There are 3 elements of Mindfulness
INTENT: The intent to be present.
ATTENTION: Placing your attention into the present moment as often as you can.
ATTITUDE: Bringing a curious and non-judgmental attitude to yourself and the world around you.
Did you know, on average, we think 70,000 thoughts a day. 95% of those thoughts are recycled from the day before and 80% are negative! Often we obsess over little things, like the awkward chat we just had with a co-worker or fretting about something that may never happen. These obsessive thoughts can spiral our brains into thinking and feeling a certain way. Many of us are chronically stressed and stuck in negative feedback loops.
Practicing Mindfulness helps you change your relationship with your inner private experiences - your thoughts, feelings, memories, bodily sensations, so they no longer trap you and we can “free our minds”. It helps jolt yourself out of internal chatter and take back control of your thoughts. Enabling you to consciously decide to acknowledge, ignore or react to your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
According to principles of neuroplasticity, the brain is constantly changing in response to various experiences and creating new neural pathways. So the good news is no matter where you are right now, no matter what your experiences have been or how old you are, you can change your brain and live a happier life.
How can you practice mindfulness?
Here are some simple tools to begin to become more aware of the present moment and to bring more calm into your everyday life.
The F.L.E.X Technique
Try this a few times throughout the day.
Feel It – Be present to what you are feeling.
Let it be – Don’t try to change it, allow it to be.
Expand – Expand your awareness. What else are you aware of? What can you see, hear, touch?
Execute – Where do you go from here? Choose and carry out an action based on your values.
When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, extend your exhales as you breathe for 90 seconds.
When we breathe out, we activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for our bodies' ‘rest and digest’ response. When we go into ‘rest and digest’, our heart rate slows down, our stomach acid and digestive enzymes production increases, helping us absorb nutrients. Our immune system regulates, our hormones and enzymes balance and generally, we feel more calm and relaxed. By extending the length of our out-breath ever so slightly, we can deactivate stress and anxiety.
“You’ve been trying to win the war with your mind, with your anxiety, with your urges? True? Well, Mindfulness is about letting the war roll on while you leave the battlefield.” Steven Hayes
The reality is that life won’t stop throwing challenging things at us but Mindfulness enables us to stop fighting with ourselves - to stress less and to relax more. Mindfulness gives us the tools and confidence to take action and to relish the things in life that really matter.
Chelsea Kate Evans is a trained Meditation and Yoga teacher and speaker for EQ Minds. She empowers people to breathe, move and live with compassion.
Book Chelsea Kate to help your team calm their mind and body at work and in life.