Mindfulness in March

When you hear the word "meditation," what comes to your mind?

Do you picture a Buddhist monk levitating on a mountaintop achieving total nirvana...??

...because that is what I used to think of, until I learned what meditation/mindfulness is really about: the practice of refocusing your attention.

But like anything that is going to improve your life...that is easier said than done. There is quite a bit of work involved in building a mindfulness practice that is centered around patience, self-love, compassion, and non-judgment.

If you are a skeptic (like I used to be) you should watch this TED talk from mindfulness researcher, Dr. Shauna Shapiro: https://youtu.be/IeblJdB2-Vo

My favorite quote from her talk is, "What you practice grows stronger." That can apply to ANY and ALL areas of life!

And if you put in the effort to practice building a habit of mindfulness, you will be shocked at how your life can change for the better.

Research has suggested that practicing mindfulness/meditation regularly can

-decrease stress and anxiety

-decrease blood pressure

-increase confidence and self-esteem

-improve focus and concentration

Since I am a science nerd, the information above is what originally intrigued me to practice meditation. It definitely took me a while to learn who to be patient with myself when I realized I was distracted: my initial reaction would typically be "CRAP! I'm distracted by my thoughts AGAIN...I totally suck at this meditation thing..." And that is how I originally practiced "mindfulness" and it didn't work for me. It wasn't until I kept practicing and listening to the soothing voice of Tamara Levitt from the Calm app reinforcing the fact that it was OKAY and it was NORMAL to get carried away by your thoughts...and the reason it is called a meditation practice is because we practice gently and patiently redirecting our attention back to the breathing.

WHOA! That made so much more sense...and that was a pivotal moment in my personal practice when I recognized in myself how much negative self-talk I was constantly bombarding myself with. Not just when I was attempting to meditate, but rooted deep within myself. Bringing that awareness to how much I was judging myself and bringing myself down with my degrading thoughts was heart-breaking to realize...but was the push I needed to make a change.

So I hope that you will allow yourself to step outside of your comfort zone, find a brief guided meditation to listen to, or join me in my private Facebook group "Focusing on Why: Wellness, Health, and Yourself" Monday meditations.

Bringing mindfulness into your life doesn't happen overnight, so be patient with yourself as you embark on a journey to bring more awareness, patience, and gratitude into your daily life and begin building your own meditation practice.

Authentically yours,

-Melyssa (with a WHY)

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