GAIN SOME HEADSPACE: The Mindful Way
By Andrea Seydel Author of Saving You Is Killing Me: Loving Someone with an Addiction
Many of us go about our days mindlessly until our thinking is taken over by worry. When you love someone with an addiction it might be thoughts like: Why are they acting this way? Where are they? Are they drinking/doing drugs again? Are they ok? Why do they pick fights with me? What else can I do to help them? What if my boundaries are too rigid and something terrible happens? Your brain gets hijacked by thoughts like these.
Mindfulness is an ancient practice that moves from mindlessness and runaway thoughts of worry, concern and rumination to mindfulness and the distance between the thinking and the thought. What is interesting about mindfulness is that it is not just mediation; it isn’t about wiping your mind clear of thoughts. It’s not just relaxation - although it is calming, it’s not a pose in yoga.
Mindfulness and present moment thinking is a primary tool and antidote to run away thinking that doesn’t make you feel good. Since our emotional brain can get hijacked, mindfulness is a beautiful tool to calm yourself down to a point where the rational brain can perform. It has the power to PAUSE the brain, bringing yourself back to the present moment, and to step back from your emotion and view it compassionately and curiously. Through mindfulness practise, we can become more immersed in the moment that we are presently in and break out of the space of stress or worry. Research suggests that mindfulness enhances problem-solving that enables us to make better choices.
One of the world’s foremost experts on mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn, has summarized the experience of mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
Are you ready to Move from mindlessness to mindfulness? To go from autopilot to being in the driver’s seat so you can take back your power.
Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness:
• You can become mindful by connecting to your senses: Take time to reconnect to the present and gain distance from your inner chatterbox or worry box. You could simply say STOP, then connect to all your senses: What am I seeing? What am I smelling? What am I hearing? What am I feeling? Keep going and practice keeping your mind in the present moment. Notice, really take note, of what you are sensing in any given moment; the sights, the sounds, and smells typically go unnoticed. Another tool to be more mindful is to scan your body to observe mentally areas of tension, holds, or strain so you can acknowledge it and let it go.
• You can become more mindful by connecting to your breath: Clear your mind and just breathe. Lengthen your breath. Often in times of stress, we hold our breath. Focusing on your breath will bring you into the present moment. You can use a timer to remind you to breathe deeply. You can count the length of an inhale and an exhale. You can simply lengthen the breath. You can think the words inner on the inhale and peace on the exhale—repeat breathing cycles to gain mindfulness and presence at the moment. Pay close attention to your breathing, especially when you are experiencing intense emotions.
• Music, dance, and movement make you mindful and play the music you enjoy in the present moment. Dance. Sing along. Move your body. Let some of those emotions out through music, song, and movement. Strong emotions such as sadness, anger, or fear make it harder to gain distance. If you have pent-up anger, what are ways you can move that anger through your body? Running? Kickboxing? Or do you need calming gentleness? Would yoga, tai chi, or calming music help you?
• You can become mindful only by asking yourself questions like What am I feeling? What am I needing? What am I wanting? What am I willing to do? Starting your day with these questions is a beautiful way to check in with yourself and get real about what it is that you feel, need, and want. Tune into your body’s sensations, needs, and desires. Mindfulness is a beautiful way to encourage self-care to foster healing and growth.
• Find moments in your day to be mindful and reset your focus: Try a walking meditation where you simply take notice and stay present along your walk. Sit in awe outside. Take note of nature. One of my personal favourite meditations is the Any Loving Kindness Meditation: May I be strong. May I be peaceful. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be safe. May I be wise. Take as much time as you need to repeat these words. There are numerous amounts of mindfulness meditations available to you. Find as many moments as you can throughout the day to become mindful!
For further support: Do not hesitate to listen to the SYKM podcast or purchase the book
You can also reach out to Andrea Seydel herself at www.andreaseydel.com
Here is the SYKM Podcast link: http://apple.co/38p1OMU