If the incessant chatter of your inner dialogue is getting the best of you and you can’t seem to quiet the noise, incorporating mindfulness techniques into your daily life just might help. If you’ve never heard the term, mindfulness means bringing a heightened sense of awareness to the present moment, without judgment or criticism, and gaining acceptance of your here and now experience. By being more conscious of your current internal experiences, you begin to form new ways of interacting with yourself and those around you.
We tend to ruminate on our thoughts, feelings and experiences far too often, which produce negative and unhelpful patterns of the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. The more we brood over these interactions, the more heavy they become, essentially debilitating us from making other choices that could be more useful. We become paralyzed by our own thoughts, which produces stress, anxiety, depression and overall unhappiness.
So how do we get ourselves out of the rut and destructive pattern?
By incorporating mindfulness practice into our daily lives, we create more acceptance of our current state of mind. Mindfulness practice provides a freedom to experience our everyday emotions and be accepting of who we are without the negative backlash (that often comes from our internal banter). We essentially free ourselves to respond to life’s complexities with renewed tenacity, poise and clarity.
Several ways to incorporate mindfulness practice into your everyday lives are listed below:
Mindfulness meditation- If you think meditation is too tedious and time-consuming- think again. “Psychologists studying the effects of a meditation technique known as “mindfulness” found that meditation-trained participants showed a significant improvement in their critical cognitive skills after only four days of training for only 20 minutes each day,” (Nauert, R. (2010). Short-Term Meditation Is Beneficial. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/04/19/short-term-meditation-is-beneficial/12929.html). By incorporating short snippets of mindfulness meditation in your everyday life, stress and anxiety significantly decrease while also producing calming and healing properties.
Mindful Exercise- Find your poison and stick with it. Whether it’s a stroll in the park, several sprints down the block, a crossfit workout or a yoga practice, there’s no doubt that staying active and raising your heart rate reduces stress, raises endorphins and makes you happier and healthier for the long term.
Mindfulness Therapy- Psychotherapy is a great way to learn new and improved skills for those testy moments you so often have with yourself and those around you. Through conscious exploration, you begin to identify with your emotions, good or bad and without judgment, in order to provide alternative ways of handling troublesome situations, frustrating life events or perhaps those scary unknowns that inevitably appear in life.
Mindful Affirmations- Deepak Chopra, a firm believer in positive affirmations states, “every thought generates molecules.” Our mind wanders endlessly and we’re constantly being pulled from one thought to another. Positive affirmations help to define our focus, or goal, in order to be accomplished. Our mind has the keen ability to showcase our negative track record of failures and defeats, and those warnings tend to limit our ability to succeed or try at anything, thus confirming our limiting beliefs about ourselves. Holding on to a mindful affirmation helps us to redefine our goals, provide purpose and direction on how to overcome them and puts us on a clear path of opportunities for renewed growth and success.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques are a proven way to reduce stress, overcome insecurities and boost self-confidence. By learning how to manage reactions to external events that are out of our control, we can choose to respond to those events with kindness, thoughtful intention and focus.