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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 Paths to a Bold, Fearless Life

woman in white living fearlessly

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.

Les Brown

I absolutely love this quote because it faces you think: am I truly living my dreams or am I living my fears? That is a legit question.  Many people may say they are living their dreams. But when they think about every time, they second guessed themselves or not giving 100% of their effort into something, the answer may change.  A lot of people live at least a portion of their lives in fear.  Some of this fear may be legit but some of it may be fueled by things that can be controlled.  The following are a few ways you can begin living your dreams.

Find the Source of Your Fear

This may take a bit of time, but it is imperative that you find the true source of your fear.  Once you determine the source of your fears, you can begin to break whatever it is into small, manageable chunks so you can overcome it and truly begin to live your best life.  Some of the solutions to overcoming these fears may require the assistance of a counselor or therapist.  It will be worth to really take the time to really dig and find the source of your fear so that you can live your life freely.

Change Your Mindset

Sometimes we start out living our lives vicariously, but we end up living lives filled with fear due to our mindsets that may shift over time.  We sometimes start out with growth mindsets where everything is going well and all breaks are seeming to go our way.  When all is well it is quite easy to believe that you can learn more, work harder, and keep reaching for your goals.  However, if you have a fixed mindset and you have allowed fear to creep in, then fear will become a part of your thinking and it will be difficult to move forward.  To be successful, you must minimize any fear that you are experiencing and adopt a growth mindset.

stylish dreamy black woman with afro hairstyle on blue background

Practice Mindfulness

If fear has crept into your life and seems to occupy most of your thoughts, you can attempt to control it through various methods.  Meditation is one technique can be used to help you face your fear and make it less intimidating.  Deep breathing can also be helpful when you need to move forward but you begin to feel fear creep in. This deep breathing can help calm you until the fear subsides. Journaling can also be a technique to put your thoughts on paper and work through your fears through your entries.  You will be able to look back and see how you have overcome your fears in the past to motivate you to work toward overcoming them now.  Also, positive thinking and reframing of negative thoughts into positive ones can help your fears not to appear to be so big that you cannot overcome them.   

Do Not Give Fear Energy

Feeling fear is sometimes just a part of living.  When you are trying something new or in an unfamiliar situation, fear is likely to arise.  The main thing is to not lean into the fear.  This can be challenging but the most beneficial thing to do is to let the fear come, acknowledge it, and then let it pass.  It can sometimes be challenging, and this may take a lot of practice.  Denying fear, the opportunity to completely consume you will take time and practice.

woman living fearlessly on beach

Do you feel as if you live life fearlessly? What advice would you give those who strive to live fearlessly?

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3 Ways to Achieve Mindfulness

Woman in orange shirt achieving mindfulness
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A lot of us have heard the term ‘mindfulness’ when conversations about positivity and positive thinking comes up.  But do you know what it really means to achieve mindfulness?  And do you know how mindfulness is related to positive thinking?  This post will be about the benefits of achieving mindfulness and how it relates to positive thinking.  My previous post talked about barriers to positivity.  Read it here so you can be aware of the things that can prevent positive thinking and mindfulness.

Mindfulness is being totally aware of how you are feeling in this current moment.  It is being aware.  Being conscious of your emotions, how you are physically feeling, and just being aware of your mind is.  Mindfulness is something used in the context of being happy, joyful, and positive but you can achieve mindfulness and come to the conclusion that the thoughts you have are mainly negative thoughts.  Or you can come to the conclusion that you are emotionally off.  Mindfulness if awareness – an honest awareness – of how you are feeling in a specific moment.

But, of course, what we strive for is positive mindfulness.  So let’s look at a few ways to achieve positive mindfulness.

man sitting near waterfalls achieving mindfulness

Slowing Down to Achieve Mindfulness

In order to achieve mindfulness you must slow down.  We run through life so fast that we do not often slow down to really take inventory of what we feel.  Are you taking deep regular breaths or are you taking quick shallow breaths?  Are your thought coming slow and steady or are they racing? Slowing down and becoming aware of your thought patterns can help you see what areas you need to focus on.  You may realize that you have a tendency to take things more personally than you should.  Or you may realize that you need to become more assertive.  You may even come to realize that your energy is low and that you may need to enhance your diet.   Slowing down to really analyze all aspects of your being is crucial to being able to maximize your mindfulness. 

Jump to Positive Conclusions

It is our natural inclination to sometimes jump to negative conclusions but we sometimes have to force ourselves to jump to positive conclusions and expect them to happen.  I am notorious for always thinking something will end badly and I defend this way of thinking but saying that I am just planning for the worst case scenario.  While that may be true, if I am not careful, I may also be setting an expectation that something will go wrong.  Imagine what would happen if I put as much energy planning for a positive outcome as I do planning for a negative outcome.  Being intentional about having the expectation that things will go as planned and have a positive outcome go a long way.  Training ourselves to jump to positive conclusions will eventually lead us to achieving mindfulness which leads us to having a more positive outlook on life in general.

Feed Yourself Positivity

We have all heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.”  The assumption being that if you healthily then you will overall be considered healthy.    But if you do not eat a healthy diet you will likely feel run down and sluggish due to you not obtaining the nutrients needed to keep your strength up.  The same is true with positivity.  Be conscious of the company you keep – make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who speak positively and negatively.  You must be careful of what you allow yourself to read and hear.  Be intentional with what books you read, what music you listen to, and the conversations you have with people. It is a lot easier to be positive when positivity is continually being fed into your spirit.

man standing on mountain top
Photo by Loyale Tru1ea7n on Pexels.com

These are just a few of the things that you can do to try and achieve mindfulness.  It takes discipline but it is worth the benefits that can come from it.  Here are just a few of the benefits that has been shown that can come from achieving a level of mindfulness.

  • Better relationships
  • Become happier
  • Less stressed
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better sleep
  • Becoming more creative

What else has helped you achieve a state of mindfulness?

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