Guest Blog: What is Mindfulness and How it Can Benefit Your Life and Health?
Hi Everyone! I’m so grateful to introduce you to a new guest blogger here on Buddha Belly, Elva! Elva loves to write about her kids, mindfulness and her own personal growth. Today she’ll be sharing on the topic of mindfulness. Something I know I’m always striving to achieve. Keep reading to learn how you can become more mindful and how it can be beneficial for your life and for the lives of those around you!
We live in an amazing time, we have so many devices and advances that we use on a daily basis and we don’t even think twice about them! Yet when you take a moment and even just think back to when your parents grew up, it is hard to believe that they didn’t have the internet. They didn’t even have the hola hoop until 1958!
The amount of technology and the advances that we have available to us is just amazing! Moreover probably would have been considered impossible for our parents’ generation.
Every day, at almost every moment we have access to unlimited information from all over the world! We are able to keep in touch with friends and family in ways that our parents couldn’t have even imaged! We don’t even have to leave our home to complete our Christmas shopping. And I haven’t even touched on all the incredible medical advances that we have compared to our parents!
We really do have so much to be grateful for.
But there is a dark side, one that is so easy to get caught up in. It is when life is more like a race rather than a journey.
With so much technology in the palms of our hands, we often forget to look up and take in the world around us. Instead of learning new information and ideas to improve our lives, we start to unjustly compare. We began to start to judge our worth based on how many followers we have or wondering if our life is Pinterest worthy.
We can quickly get caught up in the race of needing to do “this” or “that”, having our days booked solid with a long to-do list and many different places to go and people to see, often without even given ourselves a moment to breathe!
Now those things do have a time and a place but all too easily we just end up living life as a race instead of enjoying life as a journey.
In my life that never-ending rush includes three children ages 3 and under. I often feel like I’m running around crazily but not really getting anything done or getting any meaning out of what I’m doing as I’m always thinking about my endless to-do list and what I need to do next.
I hadn’t even heard of the word mindfulness till my husband brought it up to me as something that he felt would be beneficial to teach to our children.
I was intrigued.
So I went off to find out what was this “mindfulness” and was it really beneficial to teach to my children?
First, what is mindfulness?
When you type in “What is Mindfulness?” into google, this is the definition that first popped up for me.
“The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”
“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
I also read a quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn,
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
This sounded great!
And as I continued to read, more and more into what mindfulness was. I learned that by making simple changes to my thought process I would be able to get more out of life and be able to enjoy my life more.
It really hit home for me when I was reading the children’s book “Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda” By Lauren Alderfer and Kerry Lee MacLean to my kids, in this wonderful children’s book the little panda explain that when he was reading, he would be thinking about reading, when he was taking a walk, he was thinking about walking, and so forth.
It really was that simple, just focus on the task at hand. For me a lot of the time it means forgetting about my to-do list and enjoying playing with my children, to listen to their laughter, to enjoy their smiles and to even slow down my thoughts when they throw a temper tantrum.
When they do act up as children often do, I’m learning to not beating myself as I start to lose my cool and start to feel that stress building up. But just acknowledge that I’m feeling that way, why I’m feeling that way but then the important step that I very often was missing, is to then move on!
Although it is very simple, it still does take practice and dedication. As I’m new on the journey to a more mindful life, I often still have to pull my mind back to what I’m doing in that present moment.
But the benefits of becoming more mindful make it worth it!
Here are some of the following ways that scientists have learned how mindfulness techniques can help improve our health.
- help relieve stress
- lower blood pressure
- improve sleep
- lower depression risk
- supports weight loss goals
And incredibly research has shown many more benefits to both one’s physical and mental health.
It is truly remarkable all the health benefits of mindfulness that have been discovered through research and study.
So I’m greatly motivated to continue to learn more about mindfulness and apply it to my life. And then in return teach my children by being an example of how to live a more mindful life.
I hope that you always will start your own journey of learning to be present, to focus on the task at hand instead of always thinking about what is next. To learn to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings without judging yourself or putting yourself down for having those thoughts or feelings.
To slow down, put the phone down and enjoy the world around you.
Elva lives with her husband, 3 young children and 2 dogs in the Canadian Wild West, where summer is short and winter never seems to end. She is a blogger who loves to write about her family, personal growth through mindfulness and her many different hobbies. You can find her at her webpage www.pursuingdelights.com