Living in survival mode can seem like a struggle if kept going for too long.  Stress can show up in many ways, such as feeling overwhelmed with everyday tasks, tension in the body, or an overthinking mind.  On occasion, stress can be beneficial – known as positive stress – and it can help you to take healthy action in life. But for many of us, especially over the past two years, the body’s ability to cope with stress can cause more harm than good.  Many folks find it challenging to manage stress and this is partly due to our constant go-go-go lifestyle. This is where mindfulness can save the day.

Mindfulness practices have been a trend in modern psychology for some time, but it is far from new in much of the rest of the world. Eastern cultures such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and East Indian Yogic practices have been promoting the use of mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, to promote wellness in body and mind.  The word mindfulness may be scary for some but let me reassure you that it can be much gentler than you think.

Why practice mindfulness? Scientific research has shown that mindfulness helps decrease:

  • Feelings of anxiety & depression
  • Feelings of irritability and anger
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches and physical body pains
  • Negative self-talk

Mindfulness has helped millions of youths and adults increase their attention, promote feelings of balance and calm, and add to feelings of connection and belonging.

We live in a world of distractions. The bing of notifications on your cellphone beckons you to check this social media status and that instant message. The infinite list of newly released comedies and dramas on Netflix only adds to the sense of endless searching for satisfaction. We often get lost in the routine of our day-to-day and run on autopilot.

This is where mindfulness can be your best friend.

By being mindful you begin to become aware of how you are feeling in the moment and why you might turn to unhealthy ways of coping such as staring at the phone screen for hours on end. Being mindful means you are acknowledging that you have emotions, feelings and a physical body that experiences sensations.  Being mindful adds to a sense of presence in the current moment and this in turn adds to feeling connected to the bigger picture of your life.

So how do you begin to live a life of more mindfulness so you can live your best life?      

Here are 3 simple steps to start practicing and making Mindfulness your P.A.L.:

  1. Pause – this means taking a pause in any moment that you become consciously aware of what you are doing. As you continue with your mindfulness practice you will find that the pause comes with more ease, and you will be able to sooner recognize negative thoughts. Pausing does not mean you have to stop everything. Instead allow yourself to take a moment to slow down mentally and physically. This pause will make your body happy.
  1. Accept – refers to the practice of accepting what is going on in your mental playground and the world around you. Acknowledge that there are certain views you have about life and it is okay to have them. You are beginning a journey to come to more acceptance of self and others, and this is part of the fun. Be patient with yourself as you come to acknowledge who you are.
  1. Listen Mindfulness means engaging with the world inside and outside of you at any moment. This act of listening reminds you to listen to what is happening in your mind, emotions and body so you can add to a deeper understanding of yourself. It also means ‘listening’ to the world outside: the sounds around you, the actions of others, the natural world and it’s magickal way of showing up. Listening builds on the Pause and Acknowledging, cycling back to add to your experience.

There you have it folks. You can begin the gentle and beneficial technique of Mindfulness in these simple steps.  You can begin to live a life of ease and joy. All you need to do is Pause, Accept and Listen. And of course, add a pinch of fun to it all!

Written by Fola Veritas