Anxiety and Mindfulness

Another great blog post written by Melli O’Brien

AKA Mrs. Mindfulness

 Busy & Stressed?

3 Tips to Make Your Day More Mindful

 I just came back from teaching my four-day retreat ‘the art of mindful living’ to forty wonderful people.

Throughout the course of those four days it became apparent that a common challenge in most of their lives was stress. They are not alone.

According to WebMD, currently 75% to 90% of doctor visits are due to complaints and illnesses related to stress (1) and Psychology Today refers to stress not just as an epidemic, but as a pandemic now (2). Stress is rampant and on the rise, especially in the west.

Trying to do too much can certainly be one factor involved in the emotional state of stress but busyness does not necessarily mean stress.

multitasking

In my life right now I am the busiest I have been in years. There are many things that need doing during the day. My man and I are juggling preparing our house for sale, running two businesses and getting ready to move.

When my schedule is very full like this I employ some tricks and ‘cheats’ to maintain mindfulness during my workday. I am going to share the three here that I find the most potent and easy to introduce to your daily routine.

1. Mindfulness Bells

In France there is a famous ‘mindfulness monastery’ called Plum Village. At random intervals during each day the sound of a ‘mindfulness bell’ echoes through the village. Upon hearing the sound every person stops whatever they are doing and takes a moment to simply be.

These pauses in the day are an opportunity for people connect deeply with themselves and to the present moment.

You may not be at a monastery but you can introduce mindfulness bells into your day. I use an awesome iPhone app called ZAZEN.

The free version that I use has two settings. One is a meditation timer but the other is a mindfulness bell which you can set to go off at intervals during the day – either 15, 30 or 60 minutes.

When you hear the sound of the bell take a brief pause from whatever you’re doing and take a deep slow conscious breath.

If you don’t have an iPhone you can get creative and set up another kind of mindfulness bell into your day.

2.Mindful Transitions

Many of us have a habit of rushing through our days as if there were a finish line we’re trying to get to. Instead of rushing from task to task practice mindful transitions.

This simply means that when you have completed a task – like say making breakfast – pause for a moment before moving to the next thing (which in this case might be walking to the dining table) and take one of those deep slow conscious breaths mentioned above.

This brings you back into the moment and therefore is a natural antidote to stress (it’s almost impossible to be fully present in the moment and stressed at the same time!).

One of the most potent places to practice a mindful transition is in the car. Once you sit in the drivers seat stop, breathe and connect – then move.

3.One Thing At A Time

Studies show multitasking is a less efficient way to do things (3). To be more accurate, what these studies show is that multitasking is a myth.

What most people think of as multitasking is actually a very quick shifting of attention from back and forth from task to task – and this rapid shifting of attention leaves you vulnerable to stress.

Being that multitasking is less efficient and also potentially harmful there is no reason to do it. Kick the habit!

Keep your focus on one thing at a time. Be fully present in the moment for each task as you do it (after all this is your life!). Not only will you be more efficient and make less mistakes but you will also be happier and notice a natural sense of peace arising as you go about your day.

Try these 3 tips out and let me know how they go for you in the comments section below. Do you have your own mindfulness tips to counter stress? Share them too!

Love Melli

  1. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/effects-of-stress-on-your-body
  2. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mind-wellness-awareness/201207/the-stress-pandemic

3) http://www.psych.utah.edu/lab/appliedcognition/publications/supertaskers.pdf

 

Mindfulness is the Secret to Happiness

New Research Shows That Mindfulness Is the Secret to Happiness

Reblogged from http://mrsmindfulness.com/ted-talk-happiness-is-mindfulness/

New research is shedding light on the pursuit of happiness—and most of us have been looking in all the wrong places. It turns out, happiness is not found in external things at all, but is a power we hold within ourselves.

Harvard researcher Matt Killingsworth created an app in attempts to answer the question “what makes us happy?” once and for all, and the results have been an eye-opener. According to Mr. Killingworth’s data, we’re happiest when we are mindful of the moment, and we’re least happy when the mind is wandering.

Reblogged from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy5A8dVYU3k

This study took a large sampling of 15,000 individuals. The sampling was diverse—it included people across the socio-economic stratosphere, of varying levels of education, age, occupation, incomes, marital status and across 80 countries.

The premise was simple: throughout the day, at random times, participants were contacted through their phones and asked to rate their current happiness level, what activity they were involved in when the call came, and whether or not their mind was wandering from the activity.

As it turned out, what made people happy had far less to do with what they were doing and significantly more to do with whether their attention was fully present in the moment.

People who focused on their present moment experience (in other words, people who were being ‘mindful’) were significantly happier than people whose minds wandered away from the moment.

You might assume that people who let their minds wander to happy thoughts would have been happy right?—and it is true that people whose minds wandered to happy thoughts were slightly better off than those whose minds wandered to worries or regrets. But people letting their minds wander to pleasant things were still not as happy as people who kept their minds in the moment.

Even if the activity at hand was deemed unpleasant, people were still happier when they engaged their attention fully in the now.

There is plenty of previous research that supports Killingsworth’s findings. We know for instance, that money doesn’t make us happy. Studies have shown that as long as basic needs, such as food and shelter are met, additional wealth and material goods have little bearing on happiness (1).

Dr. Mihaly Chentmihalyi, leading authority on positive psychology, studied happiness extensively in the 1960’s and came up with the same results as Killingsworth. He spoke of the peak state of human beings being a state he called ‘flow’.

According to Killingsworth, the average persons mind is wandering around 47% of our day—and when the mind wanders we don’t feel happy. Spending so much time with the mind wandering makes us vulnerable to depression, stress, anxiety and other negative emotions.

As many people continue to seek external gratification as a source of happiness, their wandering minds are overlooked as the source of their discontent.

This great study by Killingsworth supports the growing body of research on the powerful effects of mindfulness. The data shows us what wisdom traditions have long taught – that the keys to happiness – to true well-being and fulfillment – depend not on the external circumstances of our lives, but on the state of our minds and the quality of our consciousness.

Want to know how to enter ‘flow'(aka mindfulness) anytime in 4 simple steps? Check this blog post on exactly that!

Would you like to be part of Matt’s research and find out first hand what really makes you happy? Join ‘Track my Happiness’ here

Do you have comments, questions or tips on this juicy topic? Jot them in the comments section below.

Love, Melli

(1) http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/14016/money-doesnt-correlate-with-happiness-after-a-certain-level

This article is from one of my favorite mindfulness teachers, Melli O’Brien, aka Mrs. Mindfulness. Check out her website at www.mrsmindfulness.com.

You can link directly to this article HERE.

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