THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING MINDFUL
Self awareness is so important to our health and happiness and as you may have noticed I talk a lot about these two things quite often on my blog, as I do with family and friends every day. But that's because they are the two most important things to me right now, it's all I try to keep my focus on; health and happiness and by doing that you have to be mindful and really aware of your emotions, body and energy instead of just switching off, which we all know is the easier option. This post is all about the importance of being mindful and how it can affect everything from your health to your future, as well as the people around you.
The meaning of the word mindful can vary from dictionary to dictionary but altogether has the same deliverance of the power of you being in control of your body and mind to be positive and happy. The Cambridge dictionary describes it as being deliberately aware of your body, mind and feelings in the present moment, in order to create a feeling of calm. Whilst the Collin's dictionary says it means you think about it, you keep aware, are heedful and willing to deal with consequences on a constant basis. In other words we are no longer selfish people and we don't allow our emotions to rule us but we now take control, which can be very difficult to do.
At the end of the day it's all about being honest with yourself so in return you can be honest with others around you. Being mindful requires a lot of focus but on yourself but it's the one thing that doesn't involve vanity but a consciousness of the mind. It isn't a chore that pulls you away from living life and dealing with situations your currently in, it simply changes the way you think, deal with emotions and people and that in return means a happier life. It improves mental health, resulting in better physical health because emotions cause drastic changes within the body and negativity ruins your immune system. So, it's better to be mindful and healthier than miserable and suffering with headaches and stomach cramps.
I have just a few tips to share which will hopefully help you on the journey to becoming a much happier version of yourself, as well as a more genuine human being that will have much more confidence in themselves.
- Spend time alone - I know I've used this one before but when you're by yourself you are so vulnerable and truly exposed to your thoughts and emotions and it's only then that you can really build self-awareness and an honest relationship with yourself. There's nobody around to impress or to try and compare ourselves with and that's the best time to really check in with the mind. Listen to your head, check in with your breathing, how's your body feeling? are you tired, groggy or feeling alive and happy? Just allow yourself time to really hear what's going on inside that head of yours and see how your body is reacting.
- Switch off the phone or Laptop/TV - How can we really be mindful if we're busy focused on others social media pictures or tweets? I'm not saying to quit all social media outlets by any means because even I use them and I enjoy sharing things on them. However, balancing time between tweeting, sharing a status or snap on Instagram should be balanced with time away from them. It's not good to spend hours in front of the TV either, it just keeps the brain actively thinking about everything else but you and your happiness. Try and spend your days being active and kicking it in front of the TV for an hour or two at night instead, but be sure to knock off absolutely everything an hour or two before bed to allow your brain to really wind down.
- Try Yoga Or Meditation - Yoga and meditation are both amazing activities you can do to really check in with your body and mind. It teaches you to control your thoughts and not let them overwhelm you but without an aggressive approach and it feels very natural to do. With each session I complete I come away with a clearer, more focused mind and a body that feels relaxed and my breathing at a normal pace. I use an app called Headspace and it's incredible, it's teaching me how to control my own mind and emotions instead of being overrun by them. When we deny our thoughts, our body becomes tense and our breathing is much more shallow, resulting in high blood pressure, headaches and nausea. Everything is connected in our bodies and by either practicing Yoga or Meditation they really help to prevent those awful health issues from occurring in the body.
- Talk with friends and family - Becoming more mindful also requires a reflection phase and to do that asking your closest of friends or family members allows you to get, hopefully, an honest opinion on how you've been as a person towards yourself and others. Being mindful means no longer being selfish and so to begin afresh dealing with situations in a better way, we need to ask those around us. I learnt that I'm strong, loving and more capable of doing things than I give myself credit for and I truly didn't realise any of this until I talked with those that mattered most to me. You learn about things you need to change, the good and the bad and this all in return helps you to be more mindful because your drive to be happier and a more positive person should push you to do just that.
These might just be 4 things that don't seem that difficult but that's because they are not really the difficult part, though finding the time to practice yoga is something I find quite challenging. It's truly the moment when you realise you treated someone wrongly and simply because of how you were feeling, it's when you push your body so hard it crashes because you refused to listen to what it was telling you. It's when we see a breakdown in communication in relationships with family, friends and our other halves that we know we're in trouble and when we're just switching off. The hardest part is living in the moment and truly listening to our minds, our bodies and taking control of our emotions but it's all a work in progress and it will take time.
If the NHS has dedicated a whole page to mindfulness then you know how much of an impact our thoughts and emotions can have on our health, therefore it is vital to try and live each day as one with total self-awareness. Our mental health is so vital to living a good and happy life, if we neglect it, we abuse it and treating it without care only results in a very sickly body and nobody wants that.
Hopefully from reading this you might see where a change is perhaps needed in your own mind, I certainly do. Each time I talk about mindfulness I somehow inspire not only others around me but also my own self to keep at it because I'm only human and I still have to really kick myself up the butt to be the mindful person I want to be. It requires discipline, time and a genuine effort on a constant basis because it's so easy to fall of the wagon but the results are a clearer mind, a peaceful heart and a body that is more relaxed and stronger. Therefore the importance of being mindful is a great one that each and everyone of us should aspire to be more of.