Cultivating Mindfulness. Beyond Meditation
K.I.S.S keep it simple stupid
Cultivating mindfulness, health and wellness is not as complicated as most people make it out to be. It does not have to be consistent of hour long meditation, of pills and diets and extreme exercise regimens...I know you like this part. I like to keep things simple and my goal is always to meet people where they are. Below are basic steps to point you in the direction of cultivating mindfulness through simple practices that you can begin today.
You maybe asking yourself...why will food have an impact on my mindfulness? My answer to you is simple. Because if you can start having awareness of your food choices, the way you feel when you move your body, the impact your choices have on those around you...you have arrived at mindfulness. Change begins with ourselves. And through us, a ripple effect is put out there so that each and everyone of us can contribute to a better happier and healthier world.
Help someone in need. This is crucial to cultivating mindfulness. Often we take for granted how fortunate we are, how much we can share. It does not need to be a material give of any sort, simply actions will do. Opening the door for someone, cooking a meal for someone in your community, paying someone a compliment, giving someone a hug, loading the groceries for a stranger at the supermarket ...these are all ways of giving and when we help others and give to others, we are giving to OURSELVES. There is no greater sense of fulfilment and accomplishment than that achieved by giving of yourself and sharing of yourself with others.
Practice gratitude. In my world, gratitude has been the essence of experiencing little miracles everyday. When you can FEEL gratitude for what your have, you are living in abundance. Most of us don't realize how privileged we are as a result of conditioning. But we have running water, flushable toilets, we can pop in and get our food from supermarkets, we have heat and cars to get us to and from. It the most basic things we take for granted that we must be grateful for, to foster a sense of abundance in our lives.
Develop a spiritual practice. It does not have to be church or prayer...for me where I feel my connection to God biggest is in nature. I look at the trees, the sky, the stars and I realize I am part of it all. And that divine presence is everywhere. Without a spiritual practice or fulfilment, we walk around simply being part of a system that is broken and collapsing. Faith gives us strength, courage and most importantly HOPE. Sitting quietly in meditation, or tuning in to your breathing for a few minutes daily is a great way to develop or strengthen a spiritual and mindfulness practice in your life.
Drink more water. Most of us are dehydrated and dehydration limits our brain function. Water will also help eliminate acidic hormones that are produced by stress such as cortisol and adrenaline. Caffeinated , sugary drinks not only deplete your health but they too have impact in your consciousness as they affect neurotransmitters impacting your ability to respond to stress. Caffeine increases anxiety and both sugar and caffeine are addictive substances altering your mood and behavior.
Practice cooking. The act of cooking means that you will have to invest time in CHOOSING your ingredients, learning where they come from and you are putting YOUR energy into caring for yourself. Cooking can be therapeutic and a creative expression of self love, self worth. You also need to be present during cooking and it helps develop that muscle of presence and mindfulness.
Eat less meat ,dairy, sugar, chemicalized, artificial junk foods; consume less coffee, alcohol and tobacco. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. The foods you choose, go into your mouth, get broken down in your intestines and become your cells, your tissue, your bones, your blood and even your thoughts. A person living on the Standard American Diet (SAD) has not only a diminished immune function but a diminished capacity for mindfulness, empathy and compassion... as a result of “fast and convenient” choices will reflect in other areas of your life. My observation is that this mindset of instant gratification through food is the same as the instant gratification mindset in addiction. And that if we can shift in the area of food choices we can also cultivate mindfulness and presence in choosing in all areas of our lives.
Develop easy reliable habits to nurture your body. Not all of us are cut out to run marathons, but ALL of us are indeed designed to move our bodies. Find a form of movement you can embrace. Yoga, pilates, walking, rebounding, dance...any form counts and you don’t need hours of it either. 15 minutes of exercise or movement daily will increase your release of endorphins, yielding more energy and a more vibrant you. You can use exercise as a tool to curb that afternoon slump...instead of reaching for coffee treat yourself to a brisk walk and fresh air, if in the office, some chair yoga and breathing exercises. Practice using a hot towel scrub in your shower routine this helps you become grounded in your body, develop a connection with yourself and be grateful for the legs that carry you, the skin that protects your organs, that neck that holds your head. How often do you actually appreciate the body you have been given? The physical body is your vessel to navigate through a journey of spiritual growth in this lifetime. It’s not a clothes hanger...its your capsule. Nurture it.
Have healthy supportive relationships. Nothing weighs us down more than relationships that don’t elevate us. You have every right to limit your exposure to people who disempower you and do not support you. Often we keep relationships around the same we keep that dress or jacket we haven't worn for years in our closets...just in case...but there is nothing better than cleaning out a closet, and creating room for new and nicer feeling items...do the same with relationships. There is no point in continuing ties that weigh you down and trigger feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. YOU DESERVE BETTER. Because once you have better, YOU TOO can GIVE more of the best of you to the people elevating you. Walk away from anyone and anything that does not uplift you.
My hope is that in reading this you become more aware and present in your life so that you truly maximize your evolution and process.