The Power of Mindfulness, Part 1
What is mindfulness and how can it help you conquer stress?
Mindfulness is an ancient method of gaining self-awareness.
It is practiced extensively in the East and has strong connections to the ancient philosophical bodies of Buddhism and even Hinduism.
Mindfulness is one of the key practices taught by many spiritual disciplines because it helps quiet the mind and also helps improve a person’s understanding of his own thoughts and emotions.
In the context of stress management, mindfulness can be extremely useful in changing a person’s general mindset and thought patterns because it encourages conscious thinking at all times. Too often, we live our lives on “autopilot” to save time and energy on actual conscious thinking.
However, there are many instances where our “autopilot” tendencies produce the opposite of efficiency and convenience: they generate chronic stress.
How does “autopilot” thinking cause stress?
Here’s a good example: it is exceedingly common for people to become annoyed or irritated when they receive calls from telemarketers and similar sales agents.
The common autopilot response to this situation would be to immediately dismiss the telemarketer and feel annoyed that your time was somehow impinged upon by someone you don’t even know.
While the response to the situation may seem appropriate, it doesn’t mean that it’s helpful to anyone. On the contrary, such behavior often causes more problems because it can be extremely stressful to think that someone “stole” some of your time.
We are going to reverse this negative trend so that you can become calmer and more self-aware when you deal with potentially stressful situations.
The Path to Mindfulness
Below are some essential guidelines for developing mindfulness in your life. The journey to mindfulness is never easy, but you will begin reaping the rewards of your efforts very soon!
1. Move Inward – We are often overwhelmed with all the demanding responsibilities and obligations of modern life. Our minds end up focusing on what’s happening on the outside world and we forget to tend to what’s taking place inside.
Constant attention to what’s happening on the outside world can cause our inner lives to starve due to lack of nourishment. Our thoughts and emotions become imbalanced and as a result, we feel exhausted, frustrated and even angry at the world.
To remedy this situation, you must relearn how to take refuge in your inner world. You must become more aware of what’s happening on the inside as you continue to manage your affairs in the outside world.
By doing so, you will become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and you will be able to transform yourself into a calm and impartial evaluator of the outside world.
2. Developing Hyper-Focus – Hyper-focus is a powerful tool that can help lessen the mental load of individuals who are constantly bombarded by racing thoughts and distractions.
Writers, painters and all manner of artists have a natural knack for developing hyper-focus.
Hyper-focus occurs when your mind becomes completely absorbed with what you are presently working on. No distractions, no racing thoughts – just pure, blissful focus that will allow you to complete your tasks with ease and efficiency.
In Eastern spiritual practices such as Buddhism, hyper-focus is used to enhance the positive effects of meditation. We can appropriate the same technique to help you rein in those distractions so you become more efficient and productive.
3. Practice Constant Self-Awareness – Like any other new skill, you must practice mindfulness whenever you can in order to master it. What I do is I remind myself to be more aware and mindful of what’s happening inside when I’m doing something.
4. Focus on the Moment – This is one of the toughest skills to master: focusing all your thoughts and energy on what’s presently happening. The Eastern spiritual masters call this “being in the moment.” In the West, this state of heightened focus is called self-hypnosis.
Hyper-focus is the stepping stone to self-hypnosis or being “in the moment.” This skill is challenging because we live in an era where multi-tasking is considered a valuable skill. However, not everyone thrives with multi-tasking.
Scientists have even stated that our minds can only focus on one thing at a time and that when we multi-task, our brains light up like Christmas lights because our brains are only able to activate specific regions needed to carry out the different tasks. The various brain regions don’t “light up” or work all at the same time.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josée Smith, known as the NO Excuse Health Coach, specializes in helping professional women who are sick and tired of being sick and tired of dealing with stress and overwhelm by empowering them to focus on their health and wellbeing so that they have more energy, stay motivated, feel healthier and happier and achieve what they truly want with grace, power and ease.
Josée is the creator of the Turn Stress and Overwhelm into Energy and Vitality system. She has developed several programs to help women reach their health goals faster and easier so they can start living their best years now.
She believes that obstacles are opportunities in disguises. Her motto is: "It's Your Health. It's Your Choice!" Her mission is to empower women to build their confidence, find their strength, be upstoppable and live vibrant healthy lives full of energy, vitality and prosperity.