Simple but powerful mindfulness exercises bring us a wide range of benefits. You don’t have to sit in lotus position or become a Buddhist. Interest in mindfulness coming out of scientific research is making it mainstream.If I were to tell you that you can learn to release yourself from stress, improve your well being, increase your emotional intelligence, make better decisions and be happier and more successful just by sitting on your butt and watching your breath for a few minutes each day, would you be persuaded? Probably not. If you think about it, that’s strange because you probably do sit on your butt for much of the day and you never stop breathing. So what’s the problem?
First of all we have to have some kind of understanding why it works and second, if you try it, maybe you’ll find why it’s not such and easy thing to do. Just sit on a chair, upright, and count each breath. How many breaths can you count before you get distracted and forget to count? Do you forget how many breaths you’ve counted? Just try it. So, like learning to do a lot of things it’s difficult at first. Our minds just want to get out there and do stuff. So how does training our attention to follow the breath do so much good?
Long before we could detect the smallest particles of matter in the atom the Greek philosopher Leucippus hypothesized of its existence around 450 B.C. Not long after, his follower, Democritus coined the term ‘atom’ from the Greek ἄτομος (atomos, “indivisible”) from (a-, “not”) and τέμνω (temnō, “I cut”), which means uncuttable, or indivisible, something that cannot be divided further. Some of the greatest discoveries have originated from the intuitions of man’s heart, only later to be empirically ‘detected’ and rationally understood (if not perfectly), if not seen and touched. Mental health has been a soft science with classified categories of clusters of symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders yet without necessarily an empirical way to detect and diagnose. Many of the symptoms described in diagnoses are based on behavior and reports.
What happens when you stand in the queue waiting to be served? What happens when you’re waiting for a bus? Well, for most of us, we get bored or frustrated and our mind goes for a walk. We start daydreaming, planning or worrying. We’re distracted. The thing is, what’s going on in our minds has an impact on our moods and then our mood effects our thinking. We create patterns of mood and habits of thinking which feed on each other. So often this causes us completely unnecessary stress.
Researchers have found that mindfulness has a number of effects on the brain. When we focus our attention on anything, this tends to reduce the amount of thinking going on. Then the mind and the body calm a little and we get the opportunity to begin to see our patterns of thinking and feeling. After a little practice we begin to be able to uncouple our thinking from feeding back onto the way we feel. This happens as we get into the habit of paying more attention to what’s going on for us in the present moment. We begin to feel things more. We’re more aware of what’s actually going on for us. We’re better able to take a step back from situations rather than get carried away by our habits of thought. This help us to be less reactive and take things more lightly. We’re able to let go of unhelpful thinking and behavior and follow a more useful course of action.
Read more non-fiction books.Expand your horizons and knowledge by learning about new things. What are you interested in? Traveling? Gardening? Computers? Childcare? Take the time to curl up with a good book (or Kindle reader) learn, explore and grow mentally, too.Read books about positive mindsets, too. Browse the Self-Improvement section of Bookstores.Sit down with a pen and paper and think of all the good things that have happened to you in your life. Write them down. Create your list of things to be thankful for. Remember those times when you were happy and cheerful. Consider how you can make those things happen more often in your life.
It often may happen that you get worried out of minor issues arising in your daily life.On the other hand, do you get frustrated when things go haphazard? Do you think that you are not happy as much as others are? Do you get angry at the slightest mistake? If these entire attitudes have covered your life, then learn some positive thinking strategies to make life easier and happier.Only an optimistic person can lead a happy and peaceful life.Now you may ask what exactly the meaning of positive thinking is and how important it is. The answer to this is positive thinking is a process of thinking everything in life or surroundings from a positive or brighter side even if it reflects a negative tone.
Understanding there may be a physical problem with the brain is therapeutic and can help us to find more ways to improve our mental health. This book is a great read and a good reference for any specific illness or mental health problem. I also would highly recommend This is Your Brain on Joy by Dr. Earl Henslin with a forward by Dr. Amen. As well as good information and explanation of the parts of the brain (he uses a cartoon) and how they are related to different patterns of thought and behavior, there are a lot of good tips for helping with specific problems including many different treatments, what foods to eat, vitamins, aromatherapy, and cinematherapy.