I wrote about the importance of mindfulness back in August of 2021, and I think it’s an important topic to cover again as we move into 2022. We are hearing more and more about mindfulness every day, even more since the August article. I know I continue to struggle with remembering to be mindful, but I am getting better. My new Apple watch reminds me daily! Mindfulness is key is resiliency and properly handling anxiety and stress.
Some feel Omicron variant is the beginning of the end of COVID. Let’s hope so! It’s so important to stay in the moment – not dwell on the past two years or worrying about the future. The practice of mindfulness helps you to recognize stressful thoughts but refocus yourself to the moment at hand – often times easier said than done.
Thoughts filled with stress and anxiety can sometimes be like a hamster on a wheel – they just keep going round and round in your mind. By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to recognize those thoughts, but not dwell on them. Envision them as cars passing by…you wave to them…say hello…and then watch them drive off.
I recently read an article on Mashable that explained that our brains can develop neurocircuitry that supports thoughts and feelings. The brain actually develops neural connections to recurring anxious thoughts. We can use this to our advantage by interrupting those thoughts and replacing them with positive ones and focusing on the present.
The article points to several resources for helping to embrace mindfulness:
Books: Jon Kabat-Zinn has four books to help practice mindfulness:
- Meditation Is Not What You Think
- Falling Awake
- The Healing Power of Mindfulness
- Mindfulness for All: The Wisdom to Transform the World
Podcast: The Ten Percent Happier Podcast by Dan Harris talks to mindfulness and meditation experts. There is also a Ten Percent Happier app that offers guided meditations.
Online Courses: Through the Yale Stress Center, Yale School of Medicine offers mindfulness-based stress reduction recordings online including Body Scan, Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness for Sleep. They also offer several recommendations for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction 8-week, online courses.
Apps: Mashable offers suggestions for 13 apps for learning about mindfulness:
- Insight Timer
- Mindfulness Daily
- Simple Habit
- Smiling Mind
- Ten Percent Happier
- The Mindfulness App
- UCLA Mindful App
Mindfulness take time to learn, and it is perfected by practice. I’ve been working on becoming more mindful over the past year. I was fortunate to spend the Christmas holiday in Florida, and I made an effort to be mindful of the beauty of nature. The water, birds, landscaping, and even Jose, my name for the huge alligator that swims in the water behind our home! Back in Michigan, I try to see the beauty in the snow.
Through practicing mindfulness, I’ve definitely seen improvement in how I feel and how I handle stress, but it’s something I’m always working on. I encourage you to utilize the resources listed above and focus on becoming more mindful in 2022.
Have you found any great resources for learning and practicing mindfulness? Please share them with me at [email protected].