Stop what you’re doing for a second. Stop reading this and do these five things:
- Look around the room and name five things that you can see.
- Focus on four things that you can feel.
- Name three things that you can hear.
- Notice two things that you can smell.
- Focus on one thing that you can taste.
Congrats! You’ve just completed your first grounding technique that is taught many times in practicing mindfulness. It’s supposed to help bring you back into the present moment, which is a main component of mindfulness.
Mindfulness, noun: the state of being conscious or aware of something.
Headspace.com describes mindfulness as, “…the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment — free from distraction or judgment, and aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.”
A lot of us are always going, always moving, thinking “okay when I get off work I have to do ____.”, “I can’t wait until the weekend so I can go ____.”, “I’m so worried about ____ because I can’t control ____.”
Does that sound familiar? It’s because we’re not present. We’re not living the beautiful moment that is right now. Everything before this moment is unchangeable, and everything after this moment is unpredictable. Sure, it’s okay to get excited about something happening in your future, but think about the times when that thought of excitement turns into anxious thoughts, worrying, etc. It sucks and it causes a lot of issues — I’m speaking from lots of experience. Even as I write this I’m experiencing it. LOL.
Have you ever thought about how mindful you’re being at any given moment? Researchers on mindfulness put together this quick little questionnaire to help you out!
You might be wondering why this matters — what are the benefits to being more mindful? Lucky for you, Headspace is back at it again with the wonderful information you need:
- You’ll have lower glucose levels.
- Researchers at Brown University found that those who scored higher in mindfulness were more likely to have healthier glucose levels than those who scored lower.
- Mindful people are more inclined to believe they can change important things in their life as well, found in a study from the University of Pennsylvania. Mindfulness helps people feel less ashamed when presented with advice; making them more motivated to change.
- Develop better eating habits.
- Think about it! (Pun intended). Being more thoughtful about your food choices would obviously help you identify when you’re hungry, satiated, or too full.
- Less anxiety and stress.
- Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center found that patients with anxiety disorder (omg meeeeeeee) had reduced stress hormone and inflammatory responses to stressful situations after taking a mindfulness meditation course.
- Better ability to focus and improved memory.
- Again, researchers published papers in the Journal of Management finding mindfulness stabilizes attention to the present moment. Those who studied mindfulness meditation were more likely to remain vigilant longer during tasks.
- UC Santa Barbara researchers found that simply two weeks of mindfulness training can improve reading comprehension, working memory capacity, and ability to focus.
- An increase in pain relief.
- Wake Forest Baptist researchers conducted a double-blinded study including 78 healthy volunteers, and found that pain was reduced by over 20% after meditation.
- Better sleep! Yay!
- According to an article published by JAMA Internal Medicine, sleep from meditation improved in older adults that had trouble sleeping.
So like… where’s the negative? I’ve had some pushback from people when I express my love for mindfulness meditation and I don’t get it. What’s the worst that could happen? Even if you tried meditating for 10 minutes and didn’t feel you were “doing it right”, you were still able to get 10 minutes to yourself, right? You time is the most important time.
You deserve to live in the moment. You deserve to be present. You deserve not to worry or feel anxiety about the past or the future, because it’s unchangeable. What already happened, happened. And what’s going to happen, is going to happen, whether you like it or not.
I’ll leave you with a quote by boss babe meditation teacher and author, Megan Monahan:
“There is no good or bad meditation. The only bad meditation is the one you don’t do.”“Don’t Hate, Meditate” – Episode 312 of Highest Self Podcast