Ok, we admit it. Mindfulness is all the rage right now, but we promise it actually has a big impact on your brain.
So what is mindfulness exactly?
It’s the act of being fully in the present moment. It’s the “right here, right now”. Mindfulness practice focuses on orientating our attention to whatever is happening in the present moment. It's about bringing an attitude of openness to what’s going on internally and externally.
Living in this hectic world is extremely overwhelming and stressful. Technology follows us wherever we go. We dwell on the pass, stress about the future or walk like zombies glued to our screens (we have all seen those videos of people staring at their screens running into poles… and may or may not be guilty of this ourselves).
When life is moving too quickly, being present helps disconnect us from those worst case scenarios, and enjoy life. Mindfulness practices have been scientifically shown to increase positive emotions in stressed adults and has been suggested to physically change your brain. The addition of mindfulness practice is a great addition to upgrading your brain, because it allows your brain a break from all the processing and analysis. To put it simply, it’s easy to get caught in the rollercoaster of life, make the time to get off the ride.
How to practice mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be challenging, but you can make little steps. Each step can have a huge impact in your life and make the whole practice easier.
Add Mindfulness to your daily routine
It could be meditation, breath work, yoga or other mindfulness practice, but make sure to add time in your day to intentionally be present. Mindfulness takes time, dedication and energy, if you want to be successful at it, like everything else, you have to make time for it.
Keep it short
You don’t have to meditate for hours to get the full benefits of mindfulness. The brain responds to even a small burst of mindfulness throughout the day. Start with a few minutes a day and work yourself up to 10-20 minutes daily. Find 10 minutes each day to deliberately upgrade your brain.
Take time to feel
Part of being in the present is to slow down to give time to experience the different aspects of life, such as breathing, muscle tension, body temperature, or notice what’s around you. You might catch your mind wondering when someone is talking, or feel your jaw tighten up in a board meeting. Taking notice of what’s happening around you in the present may make you feel happier.
Notice your feelings
In general, most humans aren’t so great at “feelings”. We tend to over analyze or try to suppress them. Mindfulness practice focuses on observing them instead of trying to change them. We have the mentality that we need to transform negative feelings like anger, or rage into positive ones. It’s about viewing and accepting your emotions with kindness. In difficult situations, you give your emotion space to naturally rise and come down. It’s the middle ground between suppressing them and over identifying them.
Step away from the digital world
We all know this, and yet, we struggle to step away from it. Spend time everyday away from TV, computers and phones. This could be as simple as putting your phone away while waiting for the bus, sitting on the couch focusing on breathing, or taking a slow nature walk. To be present and enjoying the small joys in life is much easier when you are not connected to the internet.
We recommend checking out a great talk on why it’s important to experience the present moment: