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Mindfulness Practice in Winnipeg

stone tower relaxationAs we move away from Thanksgiving and Halloween and into the Christmas and New Years sprint it can be easy to start to overwhelmed. Between planning family gatherings, keeping the house tidy, buying or making gifts (which can add financial strain) and fretting over work and the weather you might find yourself spiralling into a panic or depression that seems like it’ll be impossible to get out of.

Maybe it isn’t just the Holiday Sprint that has you feeling down. Life is busy and maybe you find it difficult to focus on positives in your life, and the negatives seem so large in comparison. Perhaps it’s easier for you to keep dwelling on the past or things that haven’t quite gone your way and you spend an hour in bed thinking about things past, present and future that are unsatisfactory.
Whatever it is, living with that kind of mental baggage isn’t healthy for you. Luckily, there is something you can do about it.

Mindfulness is the psychological practice of intentionally bringing awareness to your experiences in the present moment without judgement or critique.

Our minds have a tendency to wander, and because negative emotions often stick with us a little more than positive ones, they may wander to painful or unpleasant events and thoughts and leave us stuck there…ruminating and turning the thoughts over and over and over. Our brains can feel like they’re moving at a million miles a minute, and it can be difficult to even concentrate on one thought at a time. If we want to change that, we need to look towards Mindfulness.

Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist traditions as well as Tibetan meditation practices. Despite its ancient origins Mindfulness has expanded and gained popularity in recent years. Different Mindfulness programs are often found in schools, high stress business environments, hospitals and even prisons. This is because Mindfulness has many benefits such as :

  • Decreased amounts of stress (Davis, Hayes, 2015)
  • Positive attitude and behavioural changes (Davis, Hayes, 2015)
  • Reduced fixation on negative emotions or experiences (Davis, Hayes, 2015)
  • Improve focus, memory and impulse control (Davis, Hayes, 2015)
  • Improve body physiology and immune function (Black, Slavich, 2016)

Mindful meditationThere are many different ways to practice Mindfulness in your life, and to start receiving all the benefits it has to offer. Meditation is by far the most popular way to practice Mindfulness (and there are many different types of Mindfulness meditations out there), but if you find the idea of meditation daunting or are worried you won’t have enough time to dedicate to a practice, here are some other ways to bring Mindfulness into your life.

  • Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini Yoga is an active form of meditation that combines physical movements with deep breath and mantras. This can be pleasant for people who have a lot of difficulty sitting still and allowing their thoughts to pass without judgement. While you can teach yourself yoga it may be beneficial to start off by joining a class to make sure there are no accidental injuries.
  • Mindful Breathing: Mindful Breathing is meant to connect you to your breath and body.
  • Mindful Observation: Mindful Observation is meant to help you appreciate the simplest things in your environment on an impactful level.
  • Mindful Awareness: Mindful Awareness is meant to grow an appreciation and awareness for the small tasks and results that they achieve.
  • Mindful Listening: We all know from experience that hearing something isn’t necessarily the same as listening to it. Mindful Listening is meant to help you open your ears to sounds in a non-judgemental way.
  • Mindful Eating: Mindful Eating is meant to help us slow down and process our food as a form of enjoyment instead of strictly sustenance.
  • Mindful Immersion: Mindful Immersion is meant to be an exercise that allows you to grow your awareness and appreciation for the current moment, instead of constantly drifting or rushing away to something coming up in the future.
  • Mindful Appreciation: Mindful Appreciation is meant to teach you how to find gratitude in the small events of the day, whether or not you had control over them happening.

stressed woman office table laptopAll of these active forms of Mindfulness ask you to slow down and contemplate the pleasant details in life. Allow yourself to be fully engrossed in your tasks and what you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions or sensations these experiences bring to you, label them if you have to, and then allow them to pass through you and away without placing judgement or value to them. Even if the feelings are initially negative it is still valuable and important to sit with those feelings and then release them. If you can practice that with something like music or food, you may find it easier to release negative emotions in the future that are related to something more important.

A strong mindfulness practice can take years to cultivate. Mindfulness isn’t so much about the result as it is about the journey. It is important to be kind to yourself and allow your practice to grow without judgement. Allow yourself to respond to your feelings instead of reacting, and see if you can notice the shift from negativity, to love and gratitude.

If you’re interested in learning more about Mindfulness, Westwood Family Chiropractic will be hosting a workshop with Life Coach and Best-Selling Author Keith Macpherson called “Holiday Presence; Unwrapping Holiday Stress” on November 27th at 6:30pm.
REGISTER FOR WORKSHOP ›

Works Cited

Black, D. S., & Slavich, G. M. (2016, June). Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Retrieved October 15, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4940234/.

Davis, D. M., & Hayes, J. A. (2012, July). What are the Benefits of Mindfulness. Retrieved October 15, 2019, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.

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