Thursday Group: This drop-in group blends the best of mindfulness practices, breathing, neuroscience and psychology to bring you more fully into your day and your life. The mindfulness practice group continues to meet Thursdays from 12-1pm at the Askews Uptown Community Room. All are welcome, $5 drop-in.  Classes will run until December 7th, 2017

 

What is this thing called mindfulness?

I live in a beautiful part of the world. It is to be admired and cherished, but when I came back from a run on a beautiful summer day and couldn’t remember my run, I had to question what had just happened……. I had just spent the last hour wrapped up in thoughts of the past and the future and had missed what was here right NOW.

Enter mindfulness….. but what is it?

That is a question being asked by a lot of people these days…. it’s not complicated, but it can be profound.

Consider this: we have an estimated 60-80,000 thoughts running through our minds every day. Where do they arise from? We don’t really know. Do we have control over them? Not without effort. Do they affect how we feel? You bet! And lastly… are they all true? Hardly!!

So, it’s no wonder we become distracted, irritable and stressed.

Mindfulness is simply a way of being with what is, in the  moment, without judgement. Sound simple? Give it a try right now…. stop, take a breath and notice how you feel inside your body at this very moment. Just notice. What are your thoughts? Emotions? Now can you hear noises in the room? Just notice.

We create so many stories about how things should be, what might happen, judgements, and criticisms… MOST OF WHICH IS NOT HAPPENING AND NEVER WILL!!

 

“I’ve had a life of many struggles… most of which never happened” Mark Twain

 

A Mindfulness practice can help you in many ways. It can help to calm and racing mind and a stressed body. It can put you in touch with your mind and body so you can make better choices and be less reactive

I have found it to be the single most effective way to find balance, reduce stress, improve concentration and enjoyment of life.

Research in neuroscience is reporting that mindfulness increases empathy, compassion, and self regulation and also is effective treatment for issues such as anxiety and chronic pain and also improves relationships.

You can probably think of times that the ability to stop, take a breath, and observe what is happening would have come in handy before reacting to a situation!!  Well, with mindfulness we can step in to a more evolved part of the brain that helps us to control emotions and calm the body rather than going down a habitual path that isn’t always the best one. And guess what… the more you practice, the more you are exercising that brain muscle, so you are more likely to be mindful more often!

There are many ways to practice mindfulness like yoga, tai chi, meditation, or just focussing on one particular task fully and completely.

But more than that, by cultivating a mindfulness practice with an attitude of kindness and curiosity,  we can understand ourselves better, go deeper, and unravel the many layers that create who we are.

Mindfulness is a way of life. Start now. There is never a better time.

* Take a moment to go outside, breathe in the fresh air and notice the sky
* Stop what you are doing and purposefully think of something/someone you are grateful for
* Take a chore such as laundry or cleaning a closet and do it slowly and mindfully

…. Congratulations! You have started to change your brain!!