Thinking never stops. Just like our digestive system and our immune system, the mind is never completely still, even when we are asleep. The mind is inclined to continuously monitor sensory data and to process what has recently just happened.
So if the mind never completely stops, why is mind-body stillness worth pursuing? Why is it so important to meditate and be mindful?
In all honesty it is really hard to do.
Being in mental control is the foundation for all life skills. Having an observer mindset, meaning being able to notice a thought without elaborating on it, is a cognitive skill. Just like anything else it takes much practice.
Do you notice where your attention goes throughout the day? Your energy flows to your focus.
If you do not want to waste precious energy then having a strategy to redirect your attention is crucial.
A few ways to master your mindset:
1.) Mediate - There are countless types of meditations you can find and try as many as you can to see which work best for you. One of my favorites is the body scan meditation. This strengthens your body schema (mental map of the body) and alleviates muscular tension. A good way to begin is to start with the feet and take a few breaths going up each body part until you get to the top of your head.
2.) Be Mindful - Mindfulness is essential if we want to improve what we do. This is a constant practice of observing with non judgement. Sati is the Buddhist word for mindfulness and it literally means memory. If we do something on autopilot we forget it immediately. We forget that this is a skill and takes much discipline.
3.) Affirmations - This is a phrase or sentence that you repeat over and over to replace any negative thoughts. The mind is a lot like a computer. Affirmations are a way to download new information and upgrade the way that you think.
4.) Reflection & Gratitude - Make time each day to reflect on all the good in your life. Read often, and be active in learning every day and better yourself personally and professionally. Set time aside to reflect on the positive and feel grateful for families, friends, health and wellness, our jobs, and all that surrounds us.
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Take a few deep breaths today and put your mind on something positive!
Yours in health,