What is mindfulness? And 5 Ways It Dramatically Boosts Your Happiness
Mindfulness is a hot topic these days. But what is mindfulness? Mindfulness can be defined as the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment. This may sound simple enough, but it can be challenging to do in our constantly-connected world.
Today, we will explore some of the top benefits of mindfulness and show you how to start incorporating it into your own life. We will also discuss an upcoming mindfulness challenge and how you can participate!
Top Benefits Of Mindfulness
Many documented studies prove mindfulness's benefits on our mental health and happiness levels. Here are some top benefits that you will experience.
One of the most common reasons people seek mindfulness is to reduce stress. Mindfulness has been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
If you're struggling with insomnia, mindfulness may be able to help. One study found that people who practiced mindfulness fell asleep faster and slept more soundly than those who didn't.
Mindfulness can also be used as a tool for managing pain. A study of cancer patients found that those who practiced mindfulness had less pain and felt more in control of their pain than those who didn't.
Boosted Immune System
Mindfulness has also been shown to boost the immune system. One study found that people who practice mindfulness have higher levels of antibodies than those who don't.
Mindfulness can also help improve relationships. One study found that couples who practice mindfulness had less conflict and felt more connected than those who didn't.
Research Suggests Mindfulness Can Reduce Anxiety Symptoms
A growing body of research suggests that mindfulness can help reduce anxiety symptoms. A review of studies found that mindfulness-based interventions can significantly reduce anxiety levels in people with anxiety disorders.
If you're interested in trying mindfulness, there are many ways to get started. Several books, apps, and websites offer guidance on how to practice mindfulness, and we have a five-day mindfulness challenge (details below).
The Link Between Mindfulness And Stress Reduction
Stress is a normal part of life. But when it becomes chronic, it can harm our physical and mental health.
Mindfulness is an effective way to reduce stress. One study found that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) was more effective at reducing stress than cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
MBSR is a type of mindfulness-based therapy that teaches people to be more aware of their thoughts and feelings. It also helps them learn how to respond to stress more positively.
One of the best things about mindfulness is that it can be practiced anywhere, at any time.
Practicing Mindfulness Is Moment To Moment Awareness
The goal of mindfulness is to be aware of your thoughts and feelings in the present moment without judgment.
You can practice mindfulness by paying attention to your breath, the sensations in your body, or the sounds around you.
Mindfulness is not about clearing your mind of all thoughts, it's about learning to observe your thoughts without getting caught up in them.
A Mindfulness Practice Can Increase Self-Compassion
Mindfulness can also help you be more self-compassionate.
Self-compassion is the ability to be kind and understanding to yourself, especially during difficult times.
A study found that people who practiced mindfulness were more likely to show self-compassion than those who didn't practice mindfulness.
Another study found that people who practiced mindful meditation had higher levels of self-compassion than those who didn't meditate.
Key Principles Of Mindfulness
Now that we have discussed some of the top benefits of mindfulness, let's explore some fundamental principles.
The First Mindfulness Principle
Mindfulness is not meditation. When practicing mindfulness, you're bringing your awareness to your conscious attention.
The Second Mindfulness Principle
Mindfulness is non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. This means that you should not judge yourself for having thoughts or feelings. Instead, notice them.
The Third Mindfulness Principle
You can practice mindfulness anywhere, anytime. You do not need to be in a particular place or have special equipment. You can practice mindful breathing while sitting in traffic or walking down the street.
The Fourth Mindfulness Principle
Mindfulness is a practice, not a destination. You will not achieve perfect mindfulness overnight, and it takes time and effort to learn how to be more mindful. However, the more you practice, the easier it will become.
The Fifth Mindfulness Principle
Mindfulness is a tool, not a cure-all. Mindfulness can help you cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. However, it is not a replacement for professional help if you struggle with mental health issues.
What Is Conscious Awareness?
It is the ability to be present in the moment and to be mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.
Conscious awareness allows you to choose how you want to respond to your thoughts and emotions. It gives you the power to decide how you want to react to the events in your life.
When you are conscious of your thoughts and feelings, you are more likely to act with intention and purpose. When you make choices in line with your values, you're less likely to feel controlled by your emotions.
Mindfulness Can Take A Few Moments
There is no set time that you need to tune into the present moment—for example, riding in a car. You can look out the window and appreciate the trees, the color of the grass on the rolling hills, and watch the beautiful clouds float by.
When you pour a cup of water from the sink, notice the temperature on your finger as you wait for it to cool; imagine where the water came from. The nature surrounding it, pay attention to the sound of it filling your cup and how light reflects off of it as it pours out the faucet.
Practice Mindful Walking
Walking is an excellent opportunity to practice mindfulness. As you walk, pay attention to the sensations of your feet hitting the ground.
Notice the sights, smells, and sounds around you. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to the present moment.
Practice Mindful Eating
You can practice mindfulness when eating, and it involves being present and aware of the sights, smells, tastes, and textures of your food.
It also means paying attention to your body's hunger cues and eating when hungry. Mindful eating can help you become more aware of your eating habits and make better choices about what you food you use to fuel your body.
Practice Mindful Breathing
Mindful breathing is a simple and effective way to reduce stress and anxiety, and it also helps you focus and be more present in the moment.
To practice mindful breathing, breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. Fill your lungs with air and let your stomach expand like you have a balloon in there.
Then, breathe out slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for several minutes, focusing on nothing but your breath.
To keep my mind focused I like to say the words as I am doing the action. When I'm breathing in I say, breathe in and when I slowly exhale I whisper, breathe out.
Top Mindfulness Myths
Mindfulness is often confused with meditation, let's dispel that myth and discuss a few more.
Mindfulness Myth #1
Mindfulness is only for people who are struggling with mental health issues.
This is one of the biggest myths about mindfulness! Mindfulness is beneficial for everyone. Mindfulness can help prevent a decline in your mental health.
Mindfulness Myth #2
Mindfulness is only for people who have a lot of free time, and Mindfulness can be practiced by anyone, regardless of how much free time you have. There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life, even if you only have a few minutes.
Mindfulness Myth #3:
Mindfulness is only for very disciplined people.
Discipline is not necessary to practice mindfulness, and all it takes is a willingness to focus on the present moment.
Now that we know what mindfulness is, let's talk about incorporating it into your life.
What Does Mindfulness Look Like In Everyday Life?
You can practice mindfulness in many different ways. Here are some examples of how you can incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life:
- Take a few minutes to sit in silence and focus on your breath each day.
- Pay attention to the sensations in your body as you move throughout the day.
- Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you.
- Listen to your thoughts and emotions without judgment.
- Accept things as they are in the present moment.
- Let go of attachments to outcomes.
- Practice gratitude for all the good in your life.
- Respond to difficult situations with compassion and understanding.
- Practice mindfulness as you wash the dishes, care for your four-legged friend, or fold laundry.
The Hershey Kiss Mindfulness Exercise
One of my favorite ways to introduce people to mindfulness is the Hershey Kiss exercise.
- Pick up one Hershey Kiss candy and hold it with your thumb and index finger. Notice the foil wrapper around the chocolate and the light that dances off the material as you slowly rotate from side to side between your fingers.
- Next, begin to slowly, peel back the foil and pay attention to the sounds and how the texture of the foil changes.
- Once the chocolate candy is revealed, gradually bring it to your nose and smell the delicious treat. Now is the fun part, place the candy on your tongue and let it gently melt. Please resist the urge to nibble and let it sit there as you notice the flavor kiss your taste buds.
- Lastly, answer this question, have you ever enjoyed a Hershey's Kiss more than the one you just savored? My guess is probably not.
When you ask, what is mindfulness think of this exercise. The simplest things like enjoying a candy or petting your cat are enhanced. The best way to describe it is when you tune into the present moment; it's like going from living in black and white to color.
Three Steps Of Sensory Mindfulness
The three steps of sensory mindfulness are:
- Quiet your mind and tune into your five senses.
- Notice what you see, feel, smell, taste, hear, and feel.
- When a thought tries to pull you out of the present moment, notice and release it without judgment,
These three steps are simple, but they can be challenging in practice. We live in a world filled with distractions. However, with a bit of effort, everyone can learn to be more mindful.
What Are Five Mindfulness exercises?
The following are five mindfulness exercises that you can try:
Mindful breathing: Focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale.
Body scan: Starting at your toes, focus on each part of your body and notice how it feels.
Sensory awareness: Notice the sounds, smells, tastes, textures, and sights around you.
Emotional awareness: Pay attention to your emotions and how they affect your body.
Thought Awareness: Notice the thoughts that pass through your mind and let them go without judgment.
How To Practice Mindfulness For Busy People
There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into your day-to-day life. Like we've mentioned above, you can eat mindfully and savor each bite of food and notice the flavors and textures.
You can also bring your awareness to the present moment while you draw your bath, take a shower, change the garbage, rake leaves, or clean the bathroom mirror.
Remember, mindfulness is being aware of how you experience the present moment, and it is not sitting on a pillow with your eyes closed meditating.
How To Deepen Your Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness is a skill that anyone can learn. And like any skill, it takes practice to get better at it. Here are some tips for deepening your mindfulness practice:
Set aside sometime each day to practice mindfulness. Even just a few minutes can make a difference.
Let's say you want to practice mindful breathing. Find a quiet space, preferably by a sunny window or outside.
Take a deep breath in for the count of four. Hold for two counts, and exhale to the count of five.
Pay attention to the sensations in your body, and notice when your mind starts to wander.
Gently bring your attention back to the present moment.
Repeat this process as many times as you like.
There is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness, and the most important thing is that you are taking the time to focus on the present moment.
Why Is The Present Moment So Powerful?
The present moment is the only moment we have. The past is gone, and the future has not yet arrived. Mindfulness allows us to focus on the here and now and savor all it offers.
When we are mindful, we can see things more clearly and make better decisions. We are also more likely to act with intention and purpose.
When You Live In The Present Moment, It's Like Living In Color
When you live in the present moment, it's like living in color. You're more aware of your surroundings, and you can appreciate the beauty of life.
Living in the present moment can help you reduce stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts, it can also help you appreciate your life more, and boost your happiness.
What Is A Mindfulness Challenge?
A mindfulness challenge is a great way to learn how to be more present and aware of your thoughts and feelings.
The challenge involves practicing mindfulness for five minutes each day for five days.
During the challenge, you'll learn how to focus on your breath, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, and eat mindfully.
You'll also have the opportunity to practice other forms of mindfulness, such as mindful walking and mindful breathing.
The challenge is a great way to get started with mindfulness and see how it can help you reduce stress and boost your happiness.
How To Join The Challenge
It's easy. All you need to do is text MINDFUL to 833-567-5484. You will receive a daily exercise to introduce you to living a mindful life.
Be Patient With Yourself When Learning Mindfulness
Mindfulness takes time and practice to learn. It's essential to be patient with yourself.
Start by practicing for a few minutes each day and gradually increase the amount of time you practice.
Also, don't worry if your mind wanders during mindfulness practices. It's normal for your mind to wander, we are curious beings with lots of moving parts in our lives,
With time and practice, you'll be able to stay more focused on the present moment and reap all the benefits of mindfulness.
By taking the challenge, you can learn how to focus on your breath, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, and appreciate the beauty of life.
Mindfulness is so worth the practice and when you incorporate it into your everyday activities, you will see the benefits immediately. So challenge yourself today! Text MINDFUL to 833-567-5484.
Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
If you enjoy laughing, tips on practicing self-care while managing your busy life, and candles, we invite you to join our Candle Family. We host monthly challenges game nights and regularly post our private Facebook group Bella Vida Family. Join our family today and be surrounded by supportive, positive people in 2022!