#38 Mindful Human Series: Part II – Why Practicing Mindfulness Is Necessary
In Part 1 of the Mindful Human series, we imagined what the world would be like if it were filled with people who were mindful. People who paused and responded rather than reacted. People who looked up with a kind smile for you. People who paused to understand rather than made assumptions or judged?
I challenged you to decide whether to choose to be a mindful contributor and provide our society with one more person closer to a transformational behavioral SHIFT in our world. We talked about what mindfulness was and what it wasn’t. If you didn’t get the chance to listen in to Part I, I invite you now to pause this episode and hop on over to shiftforwellness.com/37 , there you can read the blog post or listen to the podcast to get a good foundation for what Mindfulness is before trying to understand why it’s necessary to practice.
Today I’m going to be sharing with you Part II of the Mindful Human series: “Why Practicing Mindfulness is Necessary”. If you’re just tuning into the series and starting with Part II first, you’ll want to know in this 4 part four series on being a “Mindful Human”, I’ll be sharing with you: What Mindfulness Is and what it isn’t, Why It’s Necessary, I’ll talk about neurobiology and the part the brain plays during mindfulness, and finally, we’ll establish The Role of the Mindful Human. Embedded in each part, you will learn the basics for each topic, you’ll begin to establish your own personal practice as you play with exercises that I’ve woven throughout each podcast, and I’m confident that you’ll feel confident enough to share what you’ve learned in each part so you can spread the wellness wealth and help me fill our world up with more mindful humans.
I’m excited for you to read on about how you can make this practice of paying attention, having compassion, tuning into yourself by becoming aware of your senses and being without judgment, an easy, simple little slice of your life.
Before we get into talking about all the benefits the mindfulness practice has on us, I want to remind you that I am making no claims to being an expert on mindfulness. I came to the practice because I saw a need for it in my classroom. I educated myself on it and continue to do so by taking courses, I read about it extensively, I continue to work to develop my own practice, and I teach the practice to my students and encourage them daily to develop their own.
Let’s take this opportunity to practice some mindfulness before we go any further. We’re going to get in touch with our Anchor Breath.
- I’m going to invite you to get into your mindful body.
- Become still, quiet, relaxed and upright and bring your awareness to your breath.
- Where are you feeling the breath in your body? Three of the most common places people feel their breath is in their belly, their chest, or at their nose, but any place you feel is fine.
- Place your hand on the spot where you feel the movement of your breath. This is your anchor spot.
- This is the place where we feel our breath most obviously. It’s the place that holds our attention, just like an anchor holds a boat in place, our anchor breath holds us steady.
- Take 3 slow deep breaths. Notice how your body feels. If you feel anxious, nervous or tense where do you feel that in your body?
- If you feel anxious, breathe in one deep breath and as you breathe out, say: “I’m breathing out anxiety.”
- If you feel nervous, breathe in one deep breath and as you breathe out, say: “I’m breathing out nervousness.”
- If you feel tense, breathe in one deep breath and as you breathe out, say: “I’m breathing out tension.”
- On your next inhale and say, “I’m breathing in ease to my body.”
- If you’re not feeling any anxiety, nervousness, or tension, you are welcome to say inhale, I am inhaling, exhale, I am exhaling.
Why practice mindfulness?
You don’t need me to tell you about the information that’s careening toward us at super speeds. Most times we don’t even know what to do with it all. Kids get bombarded with the same information as well and that’s not something kids and parents really shared back in the day. As early as 10 to 15 years ago, clearly defined boundaries existed between the worlds or the parent and the child with regards to the information shared and those boundaries no longer seem to exist.
The lines have become blurred as to what’s only appropriate for adults and what’s kid sensitive. I’m sure you’ve experienced this while watching prime time TV. I know there have been plenty of times when I’ve shaken my head wondering What’s happening here? How is this material on the television at 8:00 pm appropriate for my students who are probably watching right now?
Then there’s the excessive speed of social media information which results in mindless tweets, inappropriate postings, bullying, feeling overwhelmed, and feeling the pressure of having to keep up. We are connected now more than ever and it seems to me that most people don’t realize the emotional impact this has on us as individuals and as a culture.
Paying attention and being aware of what you’re letting into your space helps to pump the breaks on life. It allows us to experience life happening for us rather than to us. And I don’t know about you, but I love living in a life that is happening for me, rather than happening to me. Because when I start feeling that life is happening to me, that’s when I know things are out of balance and I’ve got to get it together and pay a little more attention to what my mind and body need in order to self-regulate and get myself back on track.
Stopping intentionally to pause, breathe, and pay attention is a practice that needs to become a habit now more than ever!
Mindfulness can help with:
- focus and concentration
- gaining a sense of calm
- decreasing stress and anxiety
- managing impulse control
- difficult emotions
What more can you ask for? This is a dream list of responsible human behaviors!
It’s important to note that mindfulness is not a cure-all, it HELPS, it FOSTERS, it ENCOURAGES these behaviors, don’t expect any bad habits to be stopped in their tracks with this practice. But with continual practice and a mindset shift of purposeful practice, I think you’ll discover you’ll become a person who is more present, compassionate, self-aware, and making a tremendous, intentional contribution to our world as a mindful human.
**SHIFT Work 🙂
The SHIFT work I have for you this week is to practice your Anchor Breathing twice a day. I want you to practice one time alone and for the second time, invite another person to practice with you.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with the practice of mindfulness so if anything resonated with you here in Part II or if you have any questions, feel free to post them on the Shift for Wellness Facebook group page.
As we build a community where you will be able to connect with and learn from other like-minded individuals who are purposefully practicing with the intention of bringing more ease into their lives.
Be sure to visit shiftforwellness.com and sign up to receive the FREE Shift for Wellness workbook: 5 Quick Steps to Wellness (bottom of the page) and stay tuned for Part III of the Mindful Human series: “Mindfulness and The Brain”.
If you haven’t already subscribed to this podcast, no matter where you listen, please take a moment to subscribe so you don’t miss another episode.
Please rate and review the show while you’re there. And remember, it’s not about being perfect; it’s about being easy with the practice.