Written by Myra Stacey, KNOW Women
Exploring Mindfulness: A Journey to Inner Peace and Well-Being
In today’s fast-paced world, finding moments of peace and tranquility is more important than ever. Mindfulness, a practice that encourages us to be fully present in the moment, has emerged as a powerful tool to navigate life’s challenges and enhance overall well-being. In this collaborative article, we embark on a journey to explore the multifaceted aspects of mindfulness and its profound impact on our lives.
Navigating the Storm: Mindfulness in Challenging Times
Life often throws us into turbulent waters, testing our resilience. One key question we address is: How do individuals bring mindfulness into challenging or stressful situations? Our members share their personal experiences and strategies for maintaining mindfulness even in the face of adversity. We delve into the practical techniques that empower us to stay centered amidst life’s storms.
The Transformational Power of Mindfulness
Has practicing mindfulness brought about positive changes in overall well-being? We seek to uncover the transformative effects of mindfulness on mental, emotional, and physical health. Our members offer insights into the benefits they’ve witnessed since embracing mindfulness, shedding light on its potential to enhance the quality of life.
The Art of Transition: Rituals and Practices for Mindfulness
Transitioning into a mindful state of mind can be a profound experience. We explore the rituals and practices that aid this transition, providing members with practical guidance on incorporating mindfulness into daily routines. From meditation to mindful breathing exercises, we uncover the tools that help us reconnect with the present moment.
Embracing Self-Compassion and Acceptance
Mindfulness isn’t just about being present; it’s also about self-compassion and acceptance. We investigate how individuals approach these aspects within their mindfulness practice. Our members share their perspectives on nurturing self-compassion and embracing acceptance as integral components of a more profound mindfulness journey.
Join us on this into the world of mindfulness. Together, we’ll uncover the secrets to finding inner peace, resilience in adversity, and a profound sense of well-being through mindfulness.
Bringing mindfulness into challenging or stressful situations involves being fully present without judging the moment. This helps me respond thoughtfully rather than react impulsively. I take a few moments to focus on conscious breathing, which helps me ground myself and regain composure. By observing thoughts and emotions without getting too attached and recognizing them as temporary it helps create space from stress. Also, paying attention to my body’s sensations and the environment around me deepens my understanding of the situation, leading to more balanced and informed responses.
Rather than trying to power through uncertainty and intense emotions, I embrace slowing down to feel more. I take a moment to notice the presence of stress within my body, acknowledge and name the emotions, and direct conscious breaths towards the focal points of tension. This alleviates the initial intensity and allows me to be more receptive to hear my intuition guiding me.
Being mindful when confronted with stress is a great strategy for managing the challenges that we encounter. One of my favorite ways to increase mindfulness is by pausing and taking several deep breaths. Increasing the oxygen and blood flow to the body can be calming and refreshing. Additionally, spending a few moments moving your body (via stretching, dancing or any gentle movement) is another great way to increase mindfulness and embodiment.
The first thing I do is acknowledge my feelings. These feelings are totally valid, and if a situation is particularly challenging or stressful, that energy needs to be recognized and released. Then I take a moment to breathe deeply. I do a short series of inhaling through my nose, holding that breathe, and slowly exhaling through my mouth. This has rarely failed to calm my system. The last thing I do is ask myself, what can I do now to move forward?
It is important during challenging and stressful situations to become mindful of the breath. SLOWING down the breath is EVERYTHING! Inhaling slower helps with anger, while holding the breath helps with emotions, and exhaling slowly helps with anxiety and stress.
I find that a lot of us know what to do when we find ourselves in stressful situations. Some people have picked up some tools like breathwork, pausing before reacting, recognizing our triggers, etc. I find that the key is going beyond acknowledging when you feel stressed and knowing what tools you have on your tool belt. It’s about picking up the tool and using it, instead of just knowing it’s there and powering through the situation. I bring myself to mindfulness by collecting as many tools as I can access as a general practice and actually use the tool (practice deep breaths, meditate, journal, go for a walk, etc.) when the need arises.
First, I take a moment to breathe and analyze the situation. Second, think of possible solutions depending on the matter. Third, gather my thoughts and voice my opinions. These are my best practices when it comes to being aware in stressful situations.
I imagine myself “google-mapping” myself, sitting in a Spirtual Drive In movie – my Spiritual popcorn – and observe myself observing myself. Essentially, allowing myself the opportunity to be witnessed by my Higher Self in the moment to moment of life helps alchemize the “situation” into the next thing. Then the next thing. Then the next thing. I also have a beautiful masculine and feminine practice each day that frees my mind, body, heart to feel all the feels. Thru breathwork (masculine) and non linear movement (feminine), I find myself grounded AND whimsical simultaneously. My vessel is primed to experience LIFE in all phases.
Without a doubt, my initial response in any circumstance is to HALT! A pause with no immediate reaction is crucial. If you can dedicate 4-8 seconds to pure serenity, focusing solely on your breath, and then promptly shift your thoughts to ask, ‘What is the outcome I aim to achieve in this situation?’ you significantly enhance your odds of addressing the stress or problem effectively. Pause. Inhale. Recollect your purpose. Concentrate on the desired outcome.
My ENTIRE life has changed since I discovered feminine movement and all forms of meditation. I believe life is our LIVING prayer and not a moment has to be wasted to experience it to it’s FULLEST. I am healthier, feel more joy and comfortable in my own skin. I effortlessly call in abundance in my business and personal life. It gets to be EASY!
Yes!!! My ENTIRE life changed for the better when I started practicing mindfulness. I started feeling peaceful and joyful. I left a painful marriage and a job I hated and begin a beautiful journey of healing the trauma in my family and lineage. Today my life FEELS good, and it only keeps getting better.
I feel calmer and more internally relaxed since starting a practice. I also feel (and therefore believe) I’m completely capable to take on the day with whatever challenge come up. Just knowing that alone is priceless.
I have noticed so many positive changes in my well-being since practicing mindfulness consistently. When seemingly stressful situations arise, I am able to calm myself and maintain a sense of peace and stability despite what is happening around me. It is a vital skill when managing the many demands of life and I have found it to be an extremely important part of my wellness routine.
Absolutely! I’m a better health coach, leader, wife, sister, daughter, friend, godmother, etc. because of it. Finding practical ways to practice mindfulness throughout my days is one way I care for myself. No one will care for me like I can care for me. Once I realized that, it felt like a life hack or cheat code to unlock a whole new level of how I go about my well-being.
Mindfulness practice has helped me in every area of my life. My physical health has improved greatly as I experience fewer tension headaches. In parenting, I’m able to be “a thermostat instead of a thermometer” when my children’s emotions are running high. In business, I’ve learned to trust my intuition and overcome self-doubt.
Yes. When it comes to my health, I have noticed the practice of mindfulness not only reduces unwanted stress, but lowers blood pressure, and provides a positive outlook on life’s stressful situations.
Shortly after taking the moment to pause before reacting, I noticed a significant change – my shoulders were no longer perpetually tense and raised. As unusual as it may sound, this physical transformation occurred almost overnight, and as a result, my tension headaches began to fade away. This shift led to an overarching sense of tranquility. It’s an incredibly potent practice!
Absolutely, practicing mindfulness has noticeably improved my overall well-being. Before, I used to get overwhelmed by stress, however, since I started incorporating mindfulness techniques, I’ve noticed a shift in the way I react. The ability to step back from difficult situations, take conscious breaths, and observe my thoughts without getting too tangled in them has been a game-changer. This practice has not only enhanced my decision-making skills but also allowed me to maintain a healthier work-life balance. By staying present and grounded, I’ve found increased clarity, reduced anxiety, and a renewed focus on both my professional and personal growth.
Yes, I have learned a variety of breathwork and sound meditation (mantra) practices that help me center and align. I also practice taking a moment to JUST BE, stopping all the constant doing in my life and noticing what is present and beautiful right in front of me at that very moment.
Transitioning to a mindful state typically requires some deep breathing, followed by stretching my body, repeating positive affirmations and ending with a silent meditation where I focus on gratitude and memories that calm and bring me joy. I will often couple these rituals with soothing music and may also spend some additional time moving my body in ways that feel good, like dancing or gently swaying. The beauty and functionality of this routine is that I can take what I need at any given point or engage in the full ritual if I choose.
Again, I have trained myself (and body, heart, and mind) to be fully present moment to moment. When I feel “off”, I pay attention. I have primed this pump of a body God blessed me with to be my best friend. If she is hurting or tired, I tend to her-as if she was a living and breathing “thing”. BECAUSE she IS! I have an arsenal of practices that get me to connect to my heart and body. I move to 3 songs a day-NO MATTER WHAT! I also have a Skipping Practice to embody JOY and connect with my ‘little girl’. The 5 Senses Meditation is one I tap into when I’m experiencing feelings of anxiety in a given moment.
Understanding the mind-body connection from a scientific standpoint helps remind me of the important role I play in supporting my own health and reminds me that I have power in that. I practice different breathing practices that help activate my parasympathetic nervous system. I am intentional about laughing opportunities to increase my endorphins. I spend a lot of time outdoors not only because I enjoy it, but I’m aware of the connection between nature and its healing properties. Journaling has been a long-standing reflection activity that I practice. Etc.
Doing exercises, specifically yoga, and walking, helped me transition into a mindful state of mind. With these two practices, I am able to clear my mind and block the noise from day-to-day life.
I practice the ability to transition into a mindful state of mind as much as possible. My morning ritual is to consciously choose to have a positive tone for the day ahead, allowing me to ground myself and center my thoughts to make it happen. Additionally, I’ve found that starting meetings or important tasks with a brief moment of intentional breathing, and both feet on the ground, helps me enter a focused and present mindset. During busy days, I make it a point to take short breaks, stepping away from my desk to reset. Also, I’ve found that taking short walks, or watering my plants at home gives me an incredible calmness, distracts my mind, and helps me re-energize; the power of nature is incredible. These rituals have not only enhanced my overall mindfulness but also positively impacted my effectiveness both in my professional and personal life.
I lean toward mindful movement over traditional meditation. Practicing Qoya Inspired Movement helps me to connect to the physical sensation of truth in my body and remember my essence. Walking and grounding in nature, especially in the forest, reminds me that I am connected to the earth and am fully supported.
Establishing a positive morning routine involves starting the day with gratitude, followed by a reflection on one’s purpose. It’s essential to remind ourselves why we undertake what we do and what commitments we’ve made to ourselves and our loved ones. Initiating each day with this mindful practice, verbally affirming, “Halt, breathe, remember my why,” helps me set the right mental framework to confront the chaotic nature of life head-on.
Taking an intentional moment to pause has been helpful. Doing this can come right before or after a short series of breath work (inhaling through my nose, holding for a brief moment, and exhaling through my mouth).
Most of my meditation practice focuses on gratitude for my life, my state of health and all of the blessings that I have. Focusing on gratitude helps me to offer myself deep compassion especially if I am bothered or upset with myself for a mistake or poor decision. The positive affirmations that I repeat daily also encourage self-compassion and acceptance as I focus on speaking kindly to myself, offering myself forgiveness, hyping myself up and reminding myself that I am more than enough. As a body image coach, I specifically spend a great deal of time reminding myself that my body is good and that it does not (nor will it ever) require any modifications to be worthy, valuable or beautiful…this is body acceptance.
Mirror practice. You cannot run from yourself. She is literally looking back at you. It exposes vulnerable parts of my inner self that I may be hiding from. I am face to face with little Sandy. It is the most potent and loving exercise for me to be with my own person and literally share with her what I absolutely love about her, and also what I criticize in her. Then, love those parts even more!
Embracing self-compassion is indeed one of the most valuable gifts we, as women, can offer ourselves, even though it’s often the most challenging. My approach to self-compassion is straightforward: I wholeheartedly declare aloud every day, with conviction and volume, “I ain’t perfect, but I will never stop trying!” It’s a simple mantra, albeit not always easy to fully internalize. But, ladies, let’s remind ourselves, “I ain’t perfect, but I will never stop trying!” And let’s follow it up with a resounding affirmation, “I am worth it!” Repeat it with me, loud and proud.
I always remind myself how far I’ve come. As ambitious women, we often want more – more money, more time, more clients, more visibility – and there’s nothing wrong with that! But when I find myself going down a rabbit hole, I pause and acknowledge the progress I’ve made over the last month, year, or three years. Being kind with myself and finding the little things I’m grateful for bring me back to the present.
I now know that trauma can be passed down from as far back as 14 generations, so knowing this, I am especially patient with myself. I understand that what may feel like my “issues” are often patterns passed down from traumas many generations ago. My mindfulness is helping to heal things that were not even mine in the first place, so I get to be extra loving and compassionate with myself. It’s a BIG job I am doing when I practice mindfulness; one that is healing the 7 generations before me and after me!
I approach self-compassion by not being too critical or harsh to myself. Reading affirmations on self-love reassures me that I must show myself gratitude just as I do others.
In my mindfulness journey, I’ve learned that self-compassion and acceptance are extremely important. When facing challenges or setbacks, I’ve learned to treat myself with the same kindness I would offer to a friend. Instead of being overly critical, I acknowledge that struggles are part of growth. This mindset shift has been transformative and has allowed me to embrace imperfections without dwelling on them too much. You can’t be so hard on yourself! Practicing a more nurturing and supportive internal dialogue helps gives myself grace, strengths my resilience and fosters a healthier sense of well-being.
I consider mindfulness to be a part of my sustainable self-love practice and something that I’m doing to nourish myself. When I find that I’m moving into judgement over doing it “wrong” or making mistakes, I remind myself that I’m just experiencing an opportunity to come back to my practice, so I’m already doing it “right” because it is just that – a practice.
The relationship I have with myself is the most important relationship I will ever have. What we feed our minds affects our thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and behaviors. How we feel impacts our physical health. Our minds and bodies work together. I practice positive affirmations, positive thinking, envisioning exercises, prayer, gratitude, etc. all to support my self-love and self-compassion practices.
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