Mindfulness – Why Bother?

Have you felt as though your mind is controlling you rather than you controlling your mind? Perhaps you’ve felt like you have no control over your attention. Maybe you have even noticed that, while you are trying to focus on doing one thing, other things seem to intrude into your mind. For example, you might find yourself texting someone while you’re talking to someone else and have no idea what’s said in either conversation. Or maybe as you’re listening to a loved one tell a story your mind might be driving to what you’re planning to do later in the day or how distracted you are by the heat in the room. You might even find yourself blurting things out at work or yell at someone and not realize that you were going to do that beforehand – as if it just happened automatically without your realizing it. And perhaps you find yourself simply just saying and doing other things and not aware of what you’re doing.

When these things happen, it can feel as if we are living our lives with our eyes closed.

Being Mindful is living with our eyes wide open through our experiences. It is being aware of things that you are experiencing with each of our senses in the present moment rather than getting pulled into the future or the past. It is taking hold of our mind and controlling it rather than it being in control of us.

The full awareness practiced in Mindfulness allows us to be aware of our present moment – including the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations – without judgment and without trying to change those experiences. This brings with it a focused, open mind, and greater attentional control. Consider what happens when our mind is jumping from one thought, observation, or reaction to another over and over again. It can be difficult to connect with the people and things we value in our lives.

Being Mindful can…

+Give us more choices and more control over the things we do in our lives.

+Reduce our suffering and increase our sense of joy, happiness, freedom, and pleasure.

+Help us make important decisions.

+Help us focus our attention so that we can be more effective and productive.

+Increase our compassion – for both ourselves and for others.

+Lessen our pain, tension, and stress.

One thing that can really help us gain these benefits in full so that we can go on to live a fulfilled life that we want to celebrate is to make sure that we can develop our Mindfulness skills and habits. If someone is training to run a marathon, learn to play a new piece or music, or learn a new sport, it takes practice to feel capable. The same is true for Mindfulness skills. Just like any other skill in life, we need to practice our skills to become more proficient in them. This is why the Mindfulness Matters group practices start with small exercises and build up your muscles and stamina over time. We also get the benefit of going through the practices with others who are in the same boat so that we can support and encourage each other as we grow and learn together!

Enrollment has officially opened and I very excited to talk more with you about how this group can help you get your goals supercharged so that you can be on your way to the life that you want to celebrate!

Space is limited to ensure that everyone in the group feels heard and has a meaningful experience.
**only 5 spaces remain**

Register for a screening here: http://www.subscribepage.com/c6q6s5

Or contact me for more information.

Don’t forget that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “Beyond the Couch” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self in the New Year!

Please comment and share what you hope Mindfulness will bring you! Mindfulness, even in small increments, really does matter!

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

Break Out of Your “Mental Rut” to Turbocharge Your Life!

Have you caught yourself just whirling through your day, finding yourself at the end of it and just wondering where the hours went? Or maybe you’ve looked up from what you were “busy” with to find yourself puzzled by how it just got done without you even noticing that you were doing it. Sometimes, we find ourselves relieved that we just managed to get yet another item on our to-do list done. Yet, we might often feel like we’re on a fast spinning carousel ride that we can’t get off of. We might find ourselves overwhelmed, frazzled, or even just like we “miss” being a part of our lives. This is where that autopilot mode can take us – a life filled with days that are devoid of our awareness and participation.

In a car, we can sometimes drive for miles “on automatic pilot,” without really being aware of what we are doing. In the same way, we may not be really “present” moment-by-moment, for much of our lives: We can often be “miles away” without know­ing it.

On automatic pilot, we are more likely to have our “buttons pressed.” Events around us and thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the mind (of which we may be only dimly aware) can trigger old habits of thinking that are often unhelpful and may lead to worsening moods. snapping at our loved ones or colleagues, and not really understanding what quite set us off.

By becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, from moment to moment, we give ourselves the possibility of greater freedom and choice; we do not have to go into the same old “mental ruts” that may have caused problems in the past.

This is where the gift of Mindfulness can bring tremendous benefits – not only to ourselves, but to those around us who are impacted by our experiences. The aim of Mindfulness is to increase awareness so that we can respond to situ­ations with choice rather than react automatically. In other words, we can break the grip of autopilot and its reactions. We do this by practicing to be­come more aware of where our attention is and deliberately changing the focus of attention, over and over again. We do this without berating ourselves so that we can keep moving forward rather than getting pulled back into the same tailspin.

As we prepare for the next round of the Mindfulness Matters group enrolling in just a few short weeks, I wanted to share a short exercise with you for react with more intention and deliberation in our lives so that we can escape the mental ruts and access greater freedom and choice in our day-to-day experiences.

This exercise is designed to easily bring mindfulness into your everyday life so that you don’t have to feel pulled away from the things you love and care about to take care of yourself.

Choose one task each day that you often do in automatic pilot. Things such as brushing your teeth, eating a meal, attending lectures, showering, preparing for bed, walking in the park are suitable. It is probably best to stick with one activity for a week or longer rather than changing the activity regularly.

When the time comes for that activity, do it in a fully mindful frame of mind. Pay attention to the activity itself, noticing with intentional awareness what is happening right now. For instance, with teeth brushing you might feel the touch of the brush on each tooth and the gum, note the noise it is making become aware of the taste of the toothpaste. Just like in the breath awareness, if you find yourself thinking of other things, then simply note it for a second or two and return to the sensations associated with brushing your teeth.

If the activity is likely to be longer than a few minutes – such as eating a full meal or walking in the park – then practice the first three minutes mindfully. Pay attention to what you see, the sounds you hear, the feeling of your clothes as you walk and what can you smell.

As a general aim, stick to the sensations present at the time: touch, sight, sound, taste, smell. You may also note what emotions and bodily feelings you have – like noticing your breathing becomes faster or tension in your muscles.

At the end of the exercise, continue the next activity mindfully for as long as that Mindful state lasts.

What did you discover about yourself as you went through this exercise?? What did it feel like to slow down and really participate in your life to get out of that mental rut?

Don’t forget that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “Beyond the Couch” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self into the New Year!

Please feel free to comment and share what it was like to get yourself back in charge and escape the never-ending mental rut!

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!

Don’t forget to get access to more valuable content weekly here!

P.S. Groups are an amazing way for us to lean how to express ourselves and understand that we are not alone. The Mindfulness Matters Group will run on Tuesdays from 6:30pm to 7:30pm  beginning on February 26th and running through April 16th. Get in touch to talk about how this might help you get yourself back on top!