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BEING MINDFULLY KIND TO YOURSELF

September’s arrival brings both excitement and trepidation as we become re-immersed in our fast-paced life. Full of work stressors and commitments to family and friends, we often try to engage fully, which can overwhelm us. Feelings of anxiety, anger and sadness surface as we push ourselves beyond our capacity. Ignoring these feelings can lead to physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. The tendency to overdo is so prevalent now that anxiety disorders are on the rise. 

The concept of disconnecting from all of our external stimuli and reconnecting with our inner world has led to much scientific study. The discoveries published in countless articles cite the benefits of being more “mindfully” aware as a protective mechanism. It turns out that Mindfulness can actually be our own personal superpower. 

Mindfulness is a tool that helps us to understand and deal with our emotions and thoughts in healthy ways. It requires us to be accepting of what we think and feel without judgement. 

There are many ways to practise Mindfulness. You can choose to sit quietly for 20 minutes each day and focus on your breath. As you breathe deeply in and out, listen and feel your breath expand and contract in your body. It is normal for your mind to wander off on various tangents. Each time, bring your focus back onto your breath. 

If time is an issue, try taking just 5 minutes a day to sit and breathe, focusing inwardly. Or, if out, take notice of your surroundings. Focus on the nature around you, leaves on the trees, clouds in the sky. Let your inner noise stop, and breathe deeply. 

There is growing research that shows that once we start to practice being mindful, we’re actually re-training our brain in a way that can strengthen neural connections. These new neural pathways and networks can boost our concentration and awareness. 

Mindfulness allows us to create healthier ways of responding to situations in our day to day life. As we become more aware, we may notice when our jaw tightens, or our neck and shoulders become tense. These realizations are a great first step to relieving body tensions. They help us to recognize how our thoughts and emotions interact with our body physically. We simply have to choose to be aware and use our “superpower” in all of our daily experiences. 

Life will always present challenges but being mindfully kind helps us to evolve and maybe even find that inner peace we are all seeking.