top of page
  • Writer's pictureDanielle Taylor

MAY I BE MINDFUL - A month of mindfulness that just might make all the difference.


 

There’s so much great information and research about Mindfulness available these days. It’s become a buzzword of sorts, and not surprisingly, as the health, mental, emotional, and functional impacts are now so well documented (even though the practice has been around for ages).


So what is Mindfulness? Generally speaking, it’s the technique of bringing all of your attention to the present moment. Usually by bringing our attention to our body’s experiences and sensations, while letting our thoughts go, without judgement or attachment. Seems simple enough, although when you have thousands upon thousands of thoughts every day, releasing your thoughts might not come that easily without a little practice. “So what’s so great about mindfulness?” I am so glad you asked.


Many of us are aware of the physical benefits, like the ever-important, and downright magical, ability to help down-regulate the sympathetic nervous system (our fight, flight or freeze response). Study after study confirms that developing a practice may improve inflammation and immune system functioning, digestive issues, cardiac stress reductions, weight loss, better sleep and so much more.


Some of us might even be aware of psychological improvements, like improved cognitive functions and clarity, improved memory and attention, reduced mental and emotional fatigue, increased empathy, as well as reduced depression, anxiety, and stress! It seems to also improve your overall well-being, allowing you a sense of deeper connection and existence as a whole. And all of that is just the tip of the iceberg, but you get the idea, this is some good stuff here. No expensive treatments, or nasty side effects.


Although as a coach, it’s something I commonly refer to as a “power tool,” as it enhances so many of the changes, breakthroughs, and transformations that my clients are working so diligently to enact in their lives.


First and foremost, if you haven’t already met them, you will be introduced to whom I affectionately call your Observing Self. This is based on a concept discussed by Michael Singer, which is the principle that, you are not your thoughts. You are the awareness of your thoughts. Meaning, If you can say, “Oh, I am having this thought right now,” then who is the one realizing that you are having that very thought? This ability to observe your every thought, feeling, sensation, or experience, can also be considered your conscious awareness (or Conscious Self).


This immediately allows us to shift, moving from our thoughts, to our awareness of our thoughts. The better we become at doing this, the more it fosters space between reacting and responding in situations. When a client is doing battle with old thought, feeling, and/or belief structures, this kind of conscious maneuverability can make all the difference in the world. Consider it like trying to check your car before going on a road trip, but you are only allowed to do so from sitting behind the steering wheel. Mindfulness gives you the space to get out of the car, open the hood, check the oil, look at the tires, and see if there’s anything to adjust before pulling out of the garage.


Another major benefit when it comes to mindfulness is heightened emotional awareness and regulation. Everything mentioned above about our thoughts can also be said about our feelings. The more you develop a practice of observing your thoughts and feelings, especially without judging them, the better you are at managing your emotional experience. This is not the same as becoming stoic and unresponsive. Instead, if you are upset about something, you can choose to allow yourself to let that feeling come and go, find what you need from it in that particular situation, and then interact with yourself and others in a way that feels healthy for everyone involved.


There are so many different ways to experience mindfulness. Some are more passive, like the customary sitting or lying down meditation practices, but there are also active forms as well. You can cultivate a mindful yoga or hiking practice (which I highly enjoy and beyond encourage), to finding ways to integrate mindfulness into your everyday life, like mindful chores (laundry or dishes and sweeping are great for this), or less activity-oriented tasks, like mindful teeth brushing, showers, cloud and people watching, and even mindfully petting and grooming your family pets. The idea is that the possibilities are endless (i.e., living life mindfully).


So where it all begins is with the breath. The breath is the only bodily function (besides blinking), that you have the ability to have conscious control over at any given moment. And thankfully it also can directly influence your parasympathetic nervous system, so when you slow your breathing it’s like pulling the reins on a horse. Just like that, the tug of two little straps (focusing on your breath) can slow and even halt the wild galloping of an incredible force that just moments before, was seemingly reeling out of control. And as your breathing slows, it's time to get out of your head and spend time inside your body. Which is where you are actually experiencing the one and only present moment.


The benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices are more readily experienced when keeping up a regular practice, rather than trying to meditate for a long period of time every once in a while. And there is a very good reason the word “practice” keeps coming up so much...because it’s all about the practice. It’s not about if you can meditate the longest, or deepest, you can receive all of the benefits of meditation and mindfulness when you do it regularly (although working up to about 20-40 minutes (or more) per day seems to a recommended minimum to eventually get to). So if you are starting or restarting a meditation practice, focus on creating a practice you can easily maintain and work your way up from there. Remember, it’s better to do it a few minutes every day, than to do 20 minutes just once a week. I also recommend beginning with a guided/teaching meditations (there are several free apps, I personally use Insight Timer and Waking Up and videos on YouTube). And of course I am also happy to offer your support in growing your own practice as well.



Which brings me to...May I be Mindful. This coming month I am challenging myself to commit to a meditation practice every day for 30 days and I want you to join me! All you have to do is choose your own Mindfulness or Meditation practice(s), maintain it for the entire month of May. On Day 1, before you begin your mindfulness practice, I want you to take a moment to write down how you are doing at that moment. How life is going. When you’re done, seal it up in an envelope. On Day 31, open your Day 1 letter and read it. Have there been any shifts? After a month of this practice are you noticing a difference from where you were at when you wrote that letter?


For those who are up for a fun way to invite mindful living into your life this month, I made a May I be Mindful Bingo card. See how many challenges you can cross off before the end of the month! I highly recommend having an accountability partner for this if you can find one. Or go to my instagram page for my regular May I be Mindful posts, @fitandflowforlife, or tag me on your own posts, I would love to hear your experience! May we all be mindful.


 

Print the PDF Below, or if you are posting on IG, download the image below (and tag me @fitandflowforlife)



Printer Friendly:

Mindfulness Bingo
.pdf
Download PDF • 63KB




44 views0 comments
bottom of page