Heart And Mind Matters Things to Think about Tina Thrussell

Mindfulness makes a difference

I find myself in the place to be returning to the practice of mindfulness, having let it slide over the last few years (since the big world shut-down, to be exact). It’s funny how we forget to use the tools we have when we need them the most!

I know I am not the only victim of the North American lifestyle.  Our hectic lifestyle is causing a major increase in stress-related diseases, including diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and depression. I once heard a statistic that said something like 95% of doctor visits are related to stress, even though less than 4% of people who go to the doctor acknowledge that stress is why they’re there! Stress is a very real problem. And mindfulness is a real solution.

An Alberta Health website reported, “While Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is not a “cure” for serious medical conditions and should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment, this body of research indicates that mindfulness training can have a significant therapeutic effect for those experiencing stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, chronic pain, migraines, heart conditions, diabetes and other ailments. In addition, participants typically report feeling more alive, more “in-tune” with themselves and others.”

Mindfulness is more than a way to relieve tension and stress (although this is the aspect we focus on most in the Discover Mindfulness sessions I present, like the one coming up at the City of Calgary one week from today – see info below.)

I think it was in 2021 that I found an article written by Rob Charchun, an off-campus teacher/coordinator for five schools who has been practicing mindfulness meditation for about 22 years and using mindfulness meditation in his classrooms for the last 20 years.

In that article, he writes, “The typical feelings of reduced stress and anxiety are only a shadow of the overall benefits. The broader range of positive changes include:

A growing sense of loving kindness and gentleness

Behaving in a balanced way

Awareness that translates as “wakefulness”

Internal , emotional and spiritual balance: ‘ equanimity’

Spiritual generosity

An ever-increasing sense of being in touch with your wisdom centers

A feeling of ‘universal wisdom’ manifesting (known as Prajna)

A soft-hearted and kind type of confidence

A ‘rich’ texture to your day that you might call “awareness of everyday beauty”

A tendency to act on the direct behalf of others (doing, giving, creating or even limiting what I can for the needs of others)”

In short, mindfulness is more than a meditation to relieve tension and stress. Mindfulness is a way of life that helps you grow into a more compassionate human being, and gives you a richer, fuller lifestyle.

If you’ve thought about looking at mindfulness, but haven’t made it a lifestyle choice for yourself yet, dip your toe into the practices of mindfulness by joining me next week, where I’ll share techniques like this one to help you sleep at night:

4-7-8 breathing. 

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  5. This whole process is one breath.
  6. Inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Dr Andrew Weil, a professor at Harvard University, emphasizes the most important part of this process is holding your breath because keeping the breath in will allow oxygen to fill your lungs and then circulate throughout the body. It is this that produces a relaxing effect in the body.

REGISTER HERE for my ‘Discover Mindfulness Workshop’

p.s. There will also be an optional set of weekly meditation practices. If you know a lot of mindfulness tools, but don’t use them, coming to the weekly practice sessions may be a way to get you ‘back in the groove’!

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