Our lives are busy, they are loud, they are intense, and they are hurried. Now some of this is of our own making (hello social media) but some of it is circumstantial living in the 2010's where stimulus is constantly flowing and requests for our time are relentless. Our society feels a lot like the age old riddle pondering whether a falling tree make noise if no one is there to hear it. Did the non stop national disasters and strife always exist or are we just aware of it now due to the omnipresent buzz in the air? Were the pressures on our schedules from work, play, and family around when we first arrived in this country? The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle but irregardless the barrage of stimuli is not going anywhere and will most likely just increase.
Lets move on from this tragic scenario that makes you want to run away from society and focus solely on the air, the sun, and your children's laughter and acknowledge our next step must in fact be coping. Learning to be resilient and purposeful in both reaction and action in the face of stress will allow you to sleep deeper, feel better, and face the world with better clarity. Sounds amazing, right? Or maybe it just sounds like another thing on your to-do list -- shoot another thing I am failing at because I forgot to relax and cope today. Stop. Cut yourself a break right now and just listen to you breath. For real, right now place both your palms on your midsection and allow your fingertips to touch, take a big deep guttural inhale and feel your fingers drift apart as your stomach expands. And now exhale, allowing your fingers to find each other again and feeling your abdominal wall contract. This time close your eyes and breath again, relaxing your face and shoulders, aware of the energy slowing within your body and your focus first on your hands, second on your breath, and lastly on the decompression felt throughout your whole self. Stay in this moment as long as you like or as long as your current situation allows you to. Slowly reemerge from this space and see the world in front of you again -- how does it feel now?
To the layman mindful meditation conjures up images of yogis chiming bells, drinking tea, and blissfully unaware of the world's chaos. Now take that image and mentally shake it. First off, yogis are not unaware they are just mindfully choosing to not put stress in the forefront of their mind and instead allowing their system to relax in order to function at its highest level of healing and performance. Friends, I am NOT a yogi. I get distracted during yoga and find myself daydreaming about anything from outfits for the weekend to never ending to-do lists. I crave the stimulation I opened my blog with. I love lights, sound, energy bouncing off the walls. What I don't love is lack of awareness and choice over my personal reaction in the face of this stimulus. This is where I practice mindful meditation. I have two kids, a husband, a budding business, and then the self inflicted chaos of the 2010's -- I have no time for the bell chiming, ommm finding meditation. What I do have time for is deep mindful breathing, mindful walking, and power in finding my words in a busy brain. The practice of mindfulness is taking your body from a heightened state of stress to calm the fastest possible for both your mind and body's well-being. Mindfulness is in fact a practice and it becomes easier to down shift that stress the more you do it. Empower yourself with the ability to control your stress because unfortunately the pain points aren't going anywhere. Want more? Check out our new Mindfulness tab for stress reduction exercises to practice.