Mindfulness; the word of 2018 and 2019. But what is it and why is it suddenly so essential?

Women in Sport
06/03/2019
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Mindfulness; the word of 2018 and 2019. But what is it and why is it suddenly so essential?

Just take a moment. Stop everything you’re doing.

Close your eyes and allow yourself to listen to what is around you for just 30 seconds.

Perhaps you have the TV or the radio on, you’re in the living room or kitchen, your partner or children are walking around the house, but yet the ticking of the clock stood out more so than anything else. This is mindfulness. Being able to pay attention to something that is already there, yet often dulled down or ignored, for whatever reason.

We live such hectic lives, constantly in limbo between doing something now and doing something next. But are we actually living in the present?

Living in the present and being mindful go hand in hand. Like a car and its engine, one’s no use without the other.

To be mindful all that’s required of ourselves is to pay attention to the small things in our lives that we usually take for granted as just being there. Whether that’s wishing a cashier a good weekend, really tasting a cup of coffee or really feeling the muscles in your body during a workout.

We’re an unhappy society, let’s face it. People are lonelier than ever, we’re more detached and engrossed in technology. By becoming more mindful about ourselves, we share that with the outer world and into others lives.

“From early morning until I go to bed and in all situations of life, I always try to check my motivation and be mindful and present in the moment. Personally, I find this to be very helpful in my own life.”

—The Dalai Lama

Mindfulness not only helps us to appreciate the small things in life that we do and others do for us, but it also helps us on a deeper level of our psyche.

In the first study of its researchers at Harvard established scientific premeditation can change the grey matter.

After 8 weeks of practicing mind exercises for an an average of 27 day, MRI scans of participants showed mindfulness:

– Stimulated a significant increase in the grey matter in the hippocampus, important learning and memory;

– Increased the density of grey matter in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection;

– Decreased the density of grey matter in the part of the brain associated with anxiety and stress, the amygdala.

According to Harvard researchers, mindfulness also:

  • relieves stress;
  • relieves depression;
  • relieves anxiety;
  • lowers blood pressure;
  • improve chronic pain
  • improve sleep;
  • improves capacity to deal with stress;
  • improves ability to form deeper connections with others.

Now you may be thinking “ How on earth can I spare 27 minutes a day?! ” you don’t have to. Just 5 minutes a day, everyday for a month totals 150 minutes! In a year that’s 1800 minutes of mindful meditation!

“ It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important. ”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince