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4 Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

Often times when we are trying to start something new, we want to know how it will benefit us. Mindfulness has many benefits to our physical health and wellness. This post will be discussing a few health benefits of mindfulness and meditation. If you are already practicing mindfulness hopefully these benefits will assist you with continuing in your journey. If you are on the fence about practicing up on this, or practice it inconsistently, hopefully this will help you see how much mindfulness can benefit you in the long run.

lady who needs to practice mindfulness

Mindfulness to Manage Stress

It should not surprise anyone that one of the major benefits of mindfulness is the reduction of stress. Everyone experiences a certain level of stress. According to the American Institute of Stress, 33% of people feel that they are living with extreme stress. 77% of people experience physical symptoms because of this stress. Mindfulness can help you manage stress as it keeps you in the present and makes you more aware of what is going on right now. Being present helps you to evaluate what you can and cannot control. Realizing that a lot of what is causing you stress is outside of your control will hopefully help you alleviate the unnecessary stress,

Mindfulness to Lower Blood Pressure

When you are stressed, your heart rate is elevated which leads to your blood pressure rising. This increased blood pressure leads to a greater risk of heart disease which is one of the leading causes of death. Mindfulness relaxes the body and the body’s response to stress. Overtime, this relaxation of the body will lead to a lower heart rate which leads to lower blood pressure. Your overall health is impacted because you will be at a decreased risk of heart disease.

Mindfulness to Improve Immunity

Managing a great deal of stress on a daily basis is hard on your body. Your body always being at a heightened level of stress can lead to your immune system being left in in a vulnerable state. Stress can wear down your immune system over period of time. Research shows that, over time, meditation can change how the body functions. When you are experiencing lower levels of stress, your immune system does not have to work as hard to protect you. If your immune system does not have to work as hard to protect you, then it has a chance to strengthen and protect you from anything that may cause your body any harm.

Mindfulness to Increase Productivity

Have you ever had so much to do that just the thought of doing it all made you tired? Or you have so much to do that you just did not do it and ended up with a major case of procrastination? Having so many things that need to be done bouncing around in your head can be very frustrating. Practicing mindfulness can help calm your mind, especially when it is full of things that you need to do. Having a calm mind that is not full of racing thoughts can help you to concentrate and focus on one thing at a time. Increased productivity comes when you are able to focus and gets things accomplished without your mind going to other things.

What are some other benefits of mindfulness that you have experienced on your mindfulness journey? Let us know in the comments below!

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Barriers to Mindfulness and Overcoming Them

mindfulness

Practice makes perfect. How many times have you heard that in your life? A lot of times we see people achieving things that look so easy, not even wrapping our head around how much practice it took for them to be able to make it look so effortless. Mindfulness is no different. Those that have been practicing mindfulness for an exceptionally long period of time often make it look and sound quite easy. But that is not true. Even they had to begin somewhere. If you have had challenges beginning your mindfulness journey, you are not alone. In this post I want to talk about a few barriers that you may encounter in your mindfulness journey.

Racing Thoughts

This is one of the biggest barriers that I have been facing in my mindfulness journey.  Many of us have so many things on our mind all the time that are thoughts are constantly bouncing from one thing to another.  These never ending stream of thoughts can be a hinderance to being present in the moment since being present requires you to focus on the here and now.   It can be a challenge to focus when your thoughts are all over the place, but it can be done.  It just takes practice.  This is much easier said than done but you must practice slowing your thoughts down.  If you find that your thoughts are racing to the point there you cannot focus, shift your thoughts to your breaths, the sounds around you, or even the smells around you.  It takes discipline but you can do it.

Not Enough Time

We all have busy schedules that often lends itself to very little free time.   It seems that there is always something to do or somewhere to be.  When thinking of being mindful, it is quite easy to feel like it is a chore – one more thing to stick into your busy schedule.  You will not get the full benefit of being mindful if you are treating it like a task and not something that is to your benefit.  My suggestion for this barrier is to schedule your mindfulness time for the same time every day.  Whether it is early in the morning before work or in the evening before bed, make it a part of your routine.  If it is in your daily schedule, it will become a part of your routine and not something that you feel needs to be rushed through. 

lady being mindful

Change Takes Time

Many of us want instant gratification.  Our phones give us quick access to our family and friends, latest news, and social media.  You can get almost anything you need in a few seconds’ time. Unfortunately, the practice of mindfulness is not something that will give you that instant gratification.  It is a process just like any journey or new habit that you embark upon. You must keep practicing mindfulness even when it feels like nothing is changing.  Remember that this is a process, and that change comes after consistency and time.

Doubt

Doubt is a mindset that can hinder you if you are not careful. It will have you so convinced that something may not work that you end up not putting your all into whatever it is that you are trying to achieve.  Doubting that your mindfulness journey will be beneficial will have you missing out on the many benefits that it has.  When you begin to doubt that something will work, you run the risk of not fully giving it a chance because you are already doubting that it will work.  Overcoming a doubting mindset is a feat in of itself.  If you choose to begin the mindfulness journey, try your best to push through all doubts so that you can reap all the benefits.

Distractions

Distractions come in so many forms.  There are the obvious distractions to mindfulness such as your phone ringing or being interrupted.  But things such as being hungry, being stressed, or being tired are also distractions because they take your focus off being mindful and onto whatever the distraction is.  The obvious remedy for this is to try to eliminate as many distractions as possible prior to practicing mindfulness.  Also, you may want to try only being mindful for about 3-5 minutes and then work yourself up to longer periods of time.  If you happen to encounter some of these distractions, do not be too hard on yourself.  Just refocus and try again. 

phone as a distraction

Have you encountered these barriers in your mindfulness journey? If so, how did you overcome them? Comment below if you have overcome these barriers or if you encountered different barriers.

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4 Ways to Become Unstuck in Life

Lady looking stuck and frustrated

Feeling stuck is one of the most frustrating feelings in the world. You want to do more, but you cannot seem to get yourself together to do more. And if you express this to other people, everybody just tells you to just do it. Just go for it. This advice sounds so simplistic, yet it feels like the hardest thing to do because you feel stuck. And you may not even understand why you feel this way, but you do. Today I will be discussing a few ways that we become stuck and how we can reverse those feelings.

Mindset

Sometimes our mindsets keep us in circumstances although we desire more for ourselves. Some of us have a mindset of resignation. This mindset follows the line of thinking that it is what it is, I have all I am going to have, and I must make do with this. With this mindset, it is very easy to get stuck because, although you may want more for yourself, you think that what you have now is all that you will ever have. When you have this mindset, the natural response is why want more if this is all I will ever have? This frame of thinking sometimes comes when we have yet to get over decisions made in past circumstances that may have put us at a disadvantage. We may feel like we don’t deserve any better and that we have made our bed so now we must lay in it.

No Real Goals

There are times where we may say we want something but we don’t outline a plan to actually get it. When this happens, we are just basically verbalizing the desire, but we do not actually give ourselves opportunity to reach the destination we have for ourselves. Having no real destination puts you in a position to where you are basically just going through life but staying in the same position. Almost like a hamster on his wheel. Time is moving on, but you are not growing into your potential.  Setting goals is vital to avoiding the feeling of being stuck.

Being Fearful

Fear paralyzes so many people. Some people have the fear of failure. For these individuals, the fear of what could go wrong and the consequences of what could happen is more powerful than the desire to try. This failure to even attempt keeps you stuck where you are in life. But then there is also the fear of success. There are some individuals who shy away from being successful because success often comes with more responsibilities and judgment. The additional responsibilities and the potential to be judged sometimes keeps some from even trying.

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is when you doubt your ability to be successful or feeling like you do not belong. Those who experience imposter syndrome often feel like a fraud, as if they don’t have the necessary qualifications to even be in the company of certain people. People who are experiencing imposter syndrome experience a certain level of success. The problem arises when they do not try to go further for fear of being exposed as a fraud. They feel as if they are lucky to have gotten as far as they have and don’t want to push their luck by attempting to go further. This can leads to a feeling of being stuck because while they may have experienced some success, they are scared to go further.

In order to reach your full potential, you have to be free to do those things that will get you to your ultimate goal. In other words, you must become unstuck. Here are a few ways that this can be done.

Focus on Your Thought Patterns

This is a very important step in becoming unstuck. A lot of what has us stuck is often what we think of ourselves or our circumstances. Take a few moments to really examine your thoughts. Are they positive thoughts or are they negative thoughts? If you have negative thoughts, do they lead to negative self-talk? If you are having negative thoughts and if they are leading to negative self talk, challenge these thoughts. Try to see where they are coming from. Is it just coming from yourself doubt or are they based in long-term traumas? Really evaluate your thoughts and why you have them. You may find that you will find that you can move forward once you begin to change the way you think.

Make Small Changes

Sometimes we feel stuck because we have fallen into a rut. We have gotten into a comfort zone and we have snuggled comfortably into it. Sometimes all you need is a small change in your daily routine or habits to shake things up enough to become unstuck. If you find that you have big goals but you don’t set small goals in between, maybe that is something you can try. Setting those small goals may feel weird to you at first but that small change in habit may be enough to make you feel unstuck.  Also, just trying something new that you may not have thought you might enjoy can sometimes make you unstuck. This could open you up to other things that might get you moving in the right direction.

Build Your Confidence

As stated earlier, there are a lot of things that can go into you feeling stuck in life. Becoming unstuck requires you to look at yourself in a totally different way. Instead of feeling like this is all is going to be, you must start thinking that you can indeed live your best life. This requires you to build your confidence. Building your confidence often requires you to do those things that you may have been scared to do previously or that may feel a little uncomfortable. But once you do these things and realize that you can be successful at these things, you will begin to do more things and you will begin to experience success. This will hopefully move you toward setting higher and higher goals that you will continue to reach.

Find Your Passion

Lastly, find your passion. Oftentimes we feel stuck because have not yet found that thing that we love. We may do a lot of things that we like but very little of the things that we love. Doing the things that we love is what gets you moving to your ultimate goal. Dreaming big and aspiring beyond just your day to day is what will eventually lead to you not feeling so stuck.

Determined looking lady

Have you ever had this stuck feeling? What did you do to become unstuck? Or if you are still feeling stuck, what is going to be your first step in moving toward your goals? Comment below and let us know!