Mindfulness practices have the power to transform your health.
A healthy life empowers us to lead realized careers, raise families, pursue creative endeavors, uphold quality relationships, make a mark on the world… the list goes on! Health seekers pursue many holistic health modalities to keep their mind and body able and well. In addition, they find that the addition of mindfulness is the game changer they’ve been seeking. Mindfulness practices are proven to have all kinds of physical, emotional and social benefits. Research has shown how mindfulness practices can improve wellness, especially helpful in managing chronic pain. We hope to inspire you to add mindfulness practices to your holistic wellness routine because after all in Sanskrit Zama means “Peace of Mind.”
What exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a cultivated state of mind that is focused on the present moment. Mindfulness practices help us to accept the present moment without passing judgment or attaching negative emotion to what is happening. Many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up worrying about the future or regretting the past, are less judgemental about measures of success and are better at forming deep connections with others.
To live mindfully is to live in the moment and reawaken oneself to the present, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. Mindfulness can also be a healthy way to identify and manage latent emotions that are causing problems in personal or professional relationships.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Focusing on the here and now reduces stress, the number one culprit of dis-ease. People who practice mindfulness are less likely to get caught up in anxiety about the future or ruminating on the past. A mindset focused on the present allows us to form healthy habits and deeper connections in our relationships with friends, family and community.
In addition to relieving stress, mindfulness boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, improves sleep and alleviates gastrointestinal difficulties. Research even suggests that mindfulness can help people better cope with rejection and social isolation.
Mindfulness is effective in treating a number of problems including depression, substance abuse, eating disorders and anxiety.
Research has found that mindfulness practices increase the density of gray matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy.
Top Mindfulness Practices:
Be present in everyday activities with intent!
Use intent to stay in the present and fully participate in your life. Choose any task or moment to practice intentional mindfulness, like eating, showering, walking, connecting with an important relation, or playing with a child. Here are some tips to intentionally tap into the present moment:
- Start by bringing your attention to the sensations in your body.
- Breathe in through your nose, allowing the air downward into your lower belly. Let your abdomen expand fully.
- Now breathe out through your mouth.
- Notice the sensations of each inhalation and exhalation.
- Proceed with the task at hand slowly and with full deliberation.
- Engage your senses fully. Notice each sight, touch, and sound so that you savor every sensation.
- When you notice that your mind has wandered from the task at hand, gently bring your attention back to the sensations of the moment.
Do a quick internet search on mindfulness and you will see a whole host of great blogs and articles on how to meditate. You can do meditation alone, with community, while walking, dancing or doing a mindful movement like yoga or tai-chi. Here are some tips for mindfulness meditation:
- Practice acceptance.
- Above all, mindfulness practice involves accepting whatever arises in your awareness at each moment. It involves being kind and forgiving toward yourself.
- Some tips to keep in mind:
- Gently redirect. If your mind wanders into planning, daydreaming, or criticism, notice where it has gone and gently redirect it to sensations in the present.
- Try and try again. If you miss your intended meditation session, simply start again.
- By practicing accepting your experience during meditation, it becomes easier to accept whatever comes your way during the rest of your day.
As human beings, we need touch – we thrive when we are touched in loving and caring ways. Tuning into our sense of touch is an easy and effective way of activating our parasympathetic nervous system, which creates a state of rest and relaxation that is highly effective for promoting mindfulness. Giving or receiving a massage can help trigger a mindful state of being. Pedicures, manicure and facials allow people to be touched in a way which is safe, and which helps them feel pampered and valued. Quality touch is meditative.
As we head into Fall & Winter, we highly recommend amping up your wellness practices.
Mindfulness practices will help prevent illness and the emotional distress that can accompany the darker months. We would love to see you here at Zama. Book with us on-line 24-7 here or give us a call at 503.281.0278.