Mindfulness – what is mindfulness? What does it mean to be ‘mindful’? it’s a hot topic that trends across our social platforms, so much so; there are 17 million #mindfulness mentions on Instagram alone! Mindfulness is contextual to the individual when it’s broken down to its core value, to make a conscious effort to alter your state of mind and become present and aware of something.
We see this more so now than ever with regards to the environment, climate change, animal welfare, humanitarianism, etc. The ability to be mindful can be seen all over the world, but how often do we stop to be “mindful” of ourselves to our selves?
Where can Mindfulness be applied to self?
This is not to say that you are required to think and only be mindful of yourself, there is a balance. What I am meaning and describing here is being mindful of you in the following ways to give some examples.
Mindfulness – Self Talk
This is a big one, we are the biggest critiques of ourselves and often our worst bullies. Being mindful that if what you are saying in your head when you see yourself, make a mistake, forget something, running late, etc. If it’s not something you would say to someone else around you, why is it ok to say these things to yourself? Being mindful is a gift that humans have, to be conscious of our own thoughts is pretty incredible, and the ability to manifest from these thought processes and implement patterns and ripple effects in our lives. Catch yourself when you are being critical of yourself next and switch the wording around to be more mindful and caring towards yourself.
Moving your body
There are multiple reasons movement of the body contributes to positive outcomes:
Exercise, reaching your fitness goals.
Endorphins and other neurochemicals/neurotransmitters are released.
Circulation and lymphatic support.
There was something that was told to me a long time ago, about time. You cannot make more time, you will always have 24 hours in a day. If you become mindful and apply mindfulness in the sense that saying you ‘do not have time’ and switching this to, it ‘its not a priority’, the mood towards the task changes. Moving should be a priority, even if it is meddling with your tasks. Stand up desks, go for a walk on your lunch break, take the stairs, do a squat when you pick up a piece of washing, put on dirty dancing over the speakers and dance around the house, calve raises while you’re doing the dishes or dancing in the shower. Wherever you can fit simply just moving your body, your mind and body will benefit from it.
Mindfulness around Food
Being mindful of how your body responds to certain foods is a form of self-love practice and it takes time. Your body will always exert responses to things that may not agree with yours. Keep a food journal, if you have an idea of foods you are intolerant too or suspect you might be, note how you feel afterward. Things like glutamates, salicylates and protein forms can wreak havoc even if we are doing our best to eat a healthy diet full of these sorts of foods. Just because it works for someone else, does not always mean that it’s the right fit for you. Pay attention to your mood after meals, are you energized and happy or are you lethargic and grumpy? Our microbiome and the gut-brain axis is so interconnected it’s not funny. Be mindful of how your food choices nourish you as an individual.
Often we do all matters of tasks around the idea of avoiding stress triggers. We put the bill off for a while until we can afford it, we avoid that phone call or the confrontation at work because it’s like the straw that broke the camels back… it’s that one thing that will just send us over the edge. We cannot control everything its impossible, what we can do is control what we can within our realm of ability to do so. We often feel better when we are mindful that getting things done and out of the way relieves this stress.
Most companies are more than happy to provide payment plans and support. It can make a huge difference to be able to do this and takes stress off you constantly thinking about that due date. For bigger bills, I like to break them down into their microelements of “how much does this actually cost me weekly” and pop this amount aside into a bills account it automatically deducts and I don’t have to think about it after that point.
Picking up negative energy
it’s ok to be mindful of how you feel around certain people if they add stress to your life, think about some ways to approach this so that how you feel inside isn’t sacrificed just to be around that person.
We as humans live in a very fast-paced world, we constantly rush and cram so much, it becomes so much chaotic energy that engulfs us. Find areas where you can create order and structure to alleviate some of this chaotic-ness. Is it a matter of making your bed as soon as you get up instead of waiting for the time when you need to leave for the day and you’re already running late. Is it laying your work clothes out the night before or doing smaller loads of washing a few days a week instead of large piles and wasting a whole day of your weekend. Often it’s a matter of switching the order in which we do things we know aren’t working, which helps to balance the chaos of life.
Putting your mental health first on the priority list!
How often do you sit and meditate, when was the last time you didn’t pick up your phone and scroll mindlessly through social media and instead chose to immerse yourself in a book that can provide you with more knowledge and may even be a drawcard for future conversations? Everyone has something to teach us if we listen, perhaps one day this information can be shared by you with someone and it will make their whole day!
What are things you know that make you feel great mentally? Make appointments with your mind to nurture it and include this mindfulness mindset, build on its complexity and desire to grow as you grow. We can be mentally stagnant and stuck in ruts when we put ourselves and our mental health last on the list of things to take good care of. Jordan Peterson once said in his book 12 rules for life, “Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping.” Believe me this sticks with you on repeat in your mind constantly once you realize how much as humans we don’t do this.
Mindfulness – Posture, and Presence
Two things that matter to you and those with whom you encounter, are Posture and Presence. How do you engage in conversation with others, is your posture open and welcoming or are your feet looking for the exit and your posture closed off, why don’t you want to be there? Would you be happy if someone reciprocated this same posture towards you when you engaged in a conversation with them? Are you present or are you on your phone while they are talking to you, would you feel respected by the other person if they did this to you? Often it’s a matter of being mindful of how you would interpret someone doing these things to you, its respectful to yourself and others around you. Even when we eat we are rarely present nowadays, always eating and on the phone at the same time. Those notifications will be there when you finish your meal we promise, being present while you eat and enjoy a meal is a form of self-respect mentally and physically, you tie in a conscious relationship between your body and food and that’s so unbelievably important.
Mindfulness – What is it really?
‘Mindfulness’ It’s not just a grab word, it’s a form of practice. To be mindful is entirely individual to you, about what matters to you and building a conscious awareness of the relationship between yourself and those things you as an individual care for. There is no right way to be mindful, there is no one self-help book or speaker that will get you there, only you can fine-tune what mindfulness means to you and practice that every day until it becomes a habit.