“M” is for May, Mother’s Day, and Mindfulness

Have you ever finished reading a page in a book and realized that you hadn’t a clue what you just read? Have you ever started eating a snack, had a couple of bites, then noticed all you had left was an empty wrapper? Or been driving and arrived at your destination only to realize you remember nothing about the journey? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone; most people have experienced one if not all of these things. These are common examples of not being mindful. In our busy, modern lives where we attempt to juggle work, family, finances, and other demands we are often required to multi-task and our brains are put into over-drive. As a result, it becomes easy to be distracted from the present moment. One solution is to practice mindfulness. This may sound a bit cliche, however, there is a lot of research that supports the notion that by being more mindful you will also become more relaxed, focused, physically healthy, and happier.

So what exactly is this amazing thing called mindfulness? According to the founder of modern day mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn (2012), “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally…” (p.17). Mindfulness helps you get out of your head and more into the “here and now”. Through this change in focus you become more of an observer of your thoughts and feelings, which will allow you to more readily notice when your mood starts to change. This will, in turn, allow you to “nip it (e.g., anger, anxiety, depression) in the bud” before the emotion becomes too intense and unmanageable. By being focused on the present moment you are also not reliving the past or trying to predict the future, which can trigger negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, and/or depression.

So now that we have sold you on practicing mindfulness, how about some instructions on how it can be done? Mindfulness may sound complex and something that takes a lot of time and effort but let us reassure you that it is actually the opposite and quite simple and easy to integrate into your daily rountine. The best way to begin practicing mindfulness is to bring awareness to those things you do every day that you typically do on autopilot. Examples of this may include brushing your teeth, walking the dog, getting dressed, taking a shower, or eating a meal. While doing these things simply focus on what you see, hear, smell, taste, and physically feel. That’s it! Pretty simple, eh? Another easy and quick way of practicing mindfulness is doing a one minute meditation. Find a quiet place and simply focus on your breath. If your mind wanders (as it most certainly will) take notice of where it goes and then gently bring your attention back to your breath. The more you practice being mindful the easier it will become and the more benefits you will ultimately reap.

So, being mindful of what month it is we encourage you to pay particular attention to your mother’s physical and emotional reaction when she receives the wonderful gift you got her. If you forgot to get your mom a gift, we strongly recommend you call us today so that we can give you a one-to-one practice session on mindfulness so that you are better prepared for next year 🙂

Philippa & Kerry

Kabat-Zinn, J.(2012). Mindfulness for beginners: Reclaiming the present moment and your life. Retrieved from http://soundstrue-media.s3.amazonaws.com/pdf/Mindfullness_For_Beginners-Sample.pdf

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