VIDEO: How To Be More Mindful (Part 2)
Do you feel like mindfulness is just for clean-eating, yoga-practicing meditation devotees? Well my friends, not so! It may not be the cure for all ills that it’s often traded as, but there are definite benefits to incorporating mindfulness practices into your day-to-day. When you need to pace yourself, to deal with physical or mental pain, or simply need to calm down in the supermarket queue, mindfulness can step in to inject a little zen into your life.
We started this short video series last week to show you how it’s easy to be more mindful without having to overhaul your life. Here’s our second tip on how you can use mindfulness to make every day a little more pleasant.
Meditation-Free Mindfulness Tip: Don’t react to pain, experience it
So last week, we offered advice on what to do when your mind is distracting you. This week, we’re all about the body. Physical pain affects everyone — whether it’s from an injury, a physical condition, or simply a backache from bad office ergonomics. But no matter the source of the niggle, a mindful attitude can go a long way towards reducing its effects.
Pain makes us suffer in two ways. Firstly, we suffer from the pain itself, and secondly, by how we react to it. If you get angry when you hit your thumb with a hammer instead of the nail you were aiming for, you’re suffering twice. When this happens, your sympathetic nervous system gets a bit overzealous, and floods your body with a wave of adrenalin — the fight-or-flight hormone — which makes your heart beat faster. By practicing mindfulness, you can calm down your sympathetic nervous system, learn to sit with your pain, recognize it for what it is, and as a result reduce the stress it puts on your system. Instead of reacting to your pain with frustration and anger, take a moment to concentrate on how your body is feeling, and try to accept the situation as much as you can. This engages your parasympathetic nervous system which will calm you down and protect you from a second wave of suffering.
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This meditation-free mindfulness tip comes from Rick Hanson’s Buddha’s Brain. The Blinkist app allows you to get the key insights from bestselling non-fiction books in 15 minutes or fewer. With over 2,000 titles centred on self-optimization and personal growth, there’s no limit to what you can learn with the app. It also has an audio function so you can listen to key ideas from books when you’re on-the-go. Download the app now and learn any number of great new things, including how to get a little more mindful.