Mindfulness is so important! 5 Resources to get you Started with Mindfulness!
Mindfulness: Why it's important and 5 easy ways to start!
So I might get a little “woo-woo” in today’s post, but it’ll be worth it!
Here I go…
I used to totally be a non-believer of meditation. I’ve come up with every excuse possible not to meditate… “I don’t have time”, “I can’t meditate, my mind won’t stop”, “I’m not the meditating kind of person”, etc. While completing my education at Institute for Integrative Nutrition, several speakers shared their experiences with meditation and it got me thinking. I began to notice that thoughts of meditating would randomly pop up in my mind. Once I noticed that, I started to question why my mind was so drawn to it. So I decided to give it a try. After meditating semi-routinely (I’m trying to make it a part of my daily routine), I began to feel how beneficial it is. I felt calmer and clearer.
Some use the words meditation and mindfulness interchangeably and that’s because you can’t meditate without being mindful. Meditation just won’t work if you’re mind is all over the place and you’re not able to bring it back to the present moment. A wandering mind while you’re meditating is normal, but it’s important to be able to recognize that it’s wandered and to be able to bring it back. You can, however, be mindful without meditating.
Definition of mindfulness from Oxford Dictionaries is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations”. Already, how nice does that sound? How often are you focused on the present moment? I bet not too often. Right now, you’re probably wondering what’s for dinner tonight or what your plans for the weekend are or where you want to go on vacation next year. While those are all important things to think about, our thoughts for the past and future seem to take over the present. There have been many nights where I’ve climbed into bed wondering where the day went and having moments from that day come back tome that left me feeling like I’d missed a special moment because my mind was elsewhere. We can dedicate specific times during the day to plan ahead or to reminisce; the rest of the time should be spent in the now.
Benefits of being mindful
I think some benefits of mindfulness are obvious…it helps us stress less, sleep better, not miss important/meaningful moments during our day, and decreases depression and anxiety.
Some not so obvious benefits include: strengthening our immune system, improves our concentration, “can reduce cell damage and lengthen our lives”. (1) I also remember reading that mindfulness has been shown to change the structure of our brain! Scientific American states that “the brains ‘fight or flight’ center, the amygdala, appears to shrink…As the amygdala shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex - associated with higher brain functions such as awareness, concentration and decision making - becomes thinker”. (2)
Some studies even show that mindfulness meditation slows the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s!!
5 Resources to get you started
What are you waiting for?! Not sure where to start? Here are some great resources that I’ve found and use that will help you get started.
www.calm.com - This is probably my favorite website at this time to use for guided meditations. Their meditations are about 10 minutes long and they have an app!
www.chopra.com - This is Dr. Deepak Chopra’s site that is filled with articles, guided meditations, and resources. They offer meditation retreats and workshops.
www.mindful.org - This website has a ton of articles for using mindfulness in all areas of your life and for your whole family. They also have a magazine you can subscribe to.
www.michellekirsch.com - Michelle has a super cute website where she offers 3 minute meditations! (There goes your “I don’t have time” excuse).
Even UCLA offers guided meditations!
I hope I didn’t get too “woo-woo” and I hope I’ve inspired you to try meditation! It’s not just for hippies!
Leave a comment and let me know how it goes!
Peace, love, and wellbeing!