Daily mindfulness practice and meditation by Shelley Ruth Wyndham

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Daily mindfulness practice and meditation by Shelley Ruth Wyndham

I am a big fan of daily mindfulness practice and meditation work and especially in a busy world these days where distractions and stress are forever increasing, mindfulness practice is a wonderful and effective tool to incorporate into one’s life no matter where you live or what you do professionally or otherwise, to help assist to centre and re balance oneself. Interestingly trends show that brief conscious periods of mindfulness in the workplace, and in important social situations, tend to generate greater happiness, satisfaction, contentment and success. But what is mindfulness? Simply put, it’s entering a state of relaxed awareness where you can observe, without judgment, your thoughts and feelings.

The easiest way to begin to step into this mindfulness exciting field of work for yourself is primarily to begin to learn to be able to turn your attention to your natural breathing. However, most people discover very quickly that, within moments, their mind is easily distracted and tends more often to quickly wander off on to various other tangents. What really is important in this field of experience is to know that this is actually perfectly natural because when you are awake, your brain is programmed to take action in the world. So, you begin to become aware that it’s going to take a little time to train your brain to stay focused on your breath. And that is a good thing. When your mind does wander, harness this as an opportunity to become aware of where it goes – thoughts, feelings, images, memories, duties you have to attend to, future plans, or even the urge to sleep – and then simply and gently bring your attention back to your breath. Soon you’ll become aware of different body sensations, like aches and pains, or different feelings like various states of being like how tired you are, or upset you are, or irritated you are, or worried you are. Take note: you do not need to engage yourself in feeling these states, merely observe whatever comes up for you, without judging or reacting to them, and then shift your attention back to your breathing. Finding a coach and /or a group where you are guided and facilitated to deepen your experience, is always advisable together with your personal daily practice. If you take the time and effort to create your own prayers, affirmations and meditation exercises whereby you begin to live mindfulness, as opposed to doing mindfulness, some would say this is the goal, where you ACTIVELY practice and incorporate specific criteria important to you, into how you experience this field of process throughout the day, every day – then these ways will start to have long-term benefits that will enhance your emotional and cognitive functioning.

There is some really interesting research on mindfulness which is showing positive effects – psychologically, physically, and neurologically – like when you add it to any medication you are taking, or to any therapy you are doing, those treatments become the most effective way to deal with most psychological problems. Combine mindfulness with exercise and you’ll do more, and combine it with diet and you won’t binge. BUT YOU HAVE TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS DAILY, and to do so for a good 10-20 minutes at a time or choose to engage with it throughout the day for shorter periods during the day.

Just like learning a new language or figuring out a mathematical equation or training your physical body, to improve your fitness and wellness levels, mindfulness training takes effort, willingness, perseverance, and optimism. As with everything, are you COMMITTED to integrating mindfulness and optimism into every hour of your work day? If this is for you, then here are some recommendations for you to consider which you can begin bringing in to your daily practice.

  • If you are already doing formal meditation, add into your current routine, brief periods of informal practice throughout the day. Set a timer to go off at different times an hour and then do 10 seconds to 3 minutes of any meditation or relaxation exercise that you find enjoyable.
  • As you meditate, consciously shift your attention between different activities and explore how each one feels. Intentionally visualize a pleasant memory. Gently gaze at a beautiful object. Focus on a desired goal. Bring your attention to an obstacle you are currently facing in your life. Allow your mind to wander and daydream. Play with your imagination. Invite your intuition to give you an insight about something you are wrestling with. Explore a different emotion each time you sit down to do a 3-5-minute mindfulness practice. Journal about your experiences and keep a list of the different topics you are mindfully exploring.
  • Alternate between non-judgemental observation of negative thoughts and feelings and savour the positive ones and pleasant experiences that occur throughout the day.
  • Especially when working, add a relaxation mediation to each day and practice it for 60 seconds each hour or two.
  • Experiment with mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful free-form movement, and mindful exercise and aerobics.
  • Change the times you do formal meditation, and change the length of time you meditate every day.
  • Experiment with unfamiliar meditation practices from other cultures
  • Guide others who may be keen to experience a mindfulness exercise and make it playful!
  • Develop conversations and friendships with people who have different meditation practices. Meditate together as you share your in-the-moment experiences.

Be creative, be playful, and follow your curiosity and intuition. Your brain gets bored with repetition and it is always seeking new and different experiences that promise short-term rewards and the long-term development of meaningfulness, purpose, and life-satisfaction.

Disciplined self-reflection like mindfulness-based practices in which you remain in a relaxed state observing your thoughts, feelings and intuitive processes appear to be a great way to create the “right” balance within your brain. And when these strategies are introduced to children to help them develop and coordinate their cognitive, emotional, and intuitive skills, their IQ scores increase. When elementary schools bring mindfulness into the classroom, the children cooperate more, with less conflict and prejudice.

PS: IF YOU WANT TO BE SMARTER, DON’T MULTI-TASK! As Susan Powell, associate professor at North-western Feinberg School of Medicine, states: “Research shows that multitasking lowers IQ, shrinks the gray matter, and lowers productivity by 40%. Conversely, mindfulness increases gray matter and improves regions involved with learning and memory processes, modulation of emotional control, and the process of awareness.”

If this resonates with you and you are keen to step into this exciting field to transform yourself, contact me!

Shelley RuthWyndham

Contact me: shelley@spiritworldmedicine.co.za

Cell: 082 457 5032

 

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Dr James Liddell is an Integrated Healthcare Specialist (B.Pharm; M.Pharm; PhD; SAPC and PSSA registered) specialising in integrating different disciplines of healthcare to ensure holistic healthcare solutions. With 25 years experience as a Pharmacist, Dr of Nutrition and Complementary & Alternative Medicine Healthcare Practitioner, he believes lifestyle is ultimately the key to optimal health; a good nutritional foundation combined with sound emotional health are the fundamentals to what he calls ‘the optimal health zone’.

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