Just being mindful for 5 minutes a day can change your health.
Don’t believe it? Here is proof: A study by Dr. Richard Davidson (Director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin) of Meditating Monks found that the brain circuitry is different in long-time meditators vs. non-meditators. When you are upset or stressed the amygdala (right prefrontal cortex of your brain) is very active. When in a positive mood, the left prefrontal cortex (associated with happiness and positivity) is engaged. The study showed that the Monks had very high activity in the left prefrontal cortex. [Reference Dr. Andrew Weil http://goo.gl/cfLY]
Our minds are active 24/7 and stress is a big part of everyone’s lives. Stress affects health and immunity including the body’s ability to heal itself. Stress can be linked to many chronic conditions like heart disease, lowered immunity, diabetes and chronic pain. Being mindful can quiet the stress and put you on the path towards better health and well being. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. It’s not about eliminating thoughts from your mind but rather, witnessing them without judgment. Being fully in the moment aware of all thoughts, sensations, sounds without reacting, simply witnessing.
So How Does One Be Mindful?
- Focus on the Breath. Feel it enter and exit your body. You can focus on the nose, the chest, the stomach … wherever the breath is at any given time. Just feel it and be aware of the breath.
- Be a Witness to Your Thoughts. Thoughts will enter your mind. It is natural you’re human. Rather than becoming frustrated with the constant chatter –don’t focus on the thought –simply acknowledge it and let it go.
- Be In the Moment. If sitting still is too difficult for you in the beginning –try this activity. Practice “being in the moment” when doing daily chores. For example when washing the dishes. Concentrate on the warmth of the water; the smell of the dish-soap, what the dishes feel like, how the dish-brush sounds against the pot. You will be surprised at how something so simple can be so relaxing! So remember – It’s not about eliminating all thoughts and focusing on pretty images or chanting a mantra. It’s about being quiet and allowing the mind the rest and rejuvenate, even for a short while. Your body, mind, heart and soul will thank you.