Your brain is your most important asset. It is a power station that connects your every thought, feeling and action. Without your brain there is no you. Yet people tend to take better care of their teeth, their hair and even their car then their brain. When was the last time you took a few minutes to take care of your brain? Yet you use it every single day, for every single thing you do! One of the ways you can take care of your brain is by practicing research based mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is often associated with meditation practice but it is more than that. It’s a form of being present that can be practiced at any time.
Mindfulness is the awareness that arises when we intentionally pay attention in a kind and non judgemental way.
There are two main elements to Mindfulness:
Most people suffer from what is called monkey mind. Your mind is like a monkey swinging from branch to branch. Your thoughts go from one thing to another, to another, to another. Before you know it you are thinking about something and have no idea how you got there. The monkey mind often thinks about the past. Pondering what happened or what you think should have gone differently. Or it thinks about the future. Worrying about what might happen or thinking about what you have to get done. If your mind wanders to the past or the future you lose sight of the now and cannot be present with what is happening right now
Mindfulness is paying attention to what is happening in the present moment.
Being kind and non judgemental is at the core of Mindfulness practice. This means that you accept what is and don’t argue with the reality. This sounds simple but when you start to practice Mindfulness you will realize that you judge things and yourself all the time:
- We can’t be late
- You are wearing the wrong shoes
- The house is such a mess
- What a grumpy waiter
- I just don’t like him
- Why can’t I just focus?
Mindfulness is about taming the inner critique, about erasing the should’s and the shouldn’ts from your thinking and becoming more accepting of how things are in that moment. This does not mean that you won’t make any changes and you will just let everything be as it is. After a kind and non judgmental thought you can still decide to do something about a situation. The difference is that you will be making changes from the ideal brain state for change and not from a state of stress.
Mindfulness teaches us to be more compassionate with ourselves, more caring and more accepting of our experience. It also teaches us to be patient and non judgmental when we make mistakes. As we learn to practice this, we become kinder and more compassionate with ourselves and with others.
Mindfulness is practicing a kind and non-judgmental attitude towards events, others and yourself.
Research based Mindfulness practice retrains the brain and promotes ‘green brain’ activity (reduced blood pressure and blood sugar, reduced heart rate, optimal digestion and immune system). In this state your body has the opportunity to restore and heal any issue there might be. When we operate from this brain state things seem to come easier, sometimes even effortlessly.
There is a lot of scientific research on the effects of Mindfulness practice and the research shows that Mindfulness practice is not only linked to wellbeing and stress reduction but it is also linked to increased creativity, productivity, physical health, self esteem and quality of relationships. It reduces symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, making it a powerful brain training tool.
The beauty about Mindfulness is that it is free, simple and you can use it any time and anywhere. It is the perfect way to take care of your brain and keep it healthy.