Mindfulness is being in the present moment. It is an awareness of all that is going on around you and even inside you. A regular mindfulness practice will naturally incorporate an awareness of the body that can have positive health effects.
We damage our bodies easily and often by not being attentive. For example, how often do you find that you’ve pushed yourself beyond your limits? Maybe you stayed up too late, drank too much, ate too much or stayed in the sun too long. We know when we are becoming fatigued, drunk, overly full or sunburned, but so often we ignore the first signs our bodies give us and push the limit just a little further, and then sometimes, further still. Whether the result is waking up tired, being hungover, gaining weight or suffering a sunburn, the fault is not being mindful. The consequences of not being attentive to our bodies can be long lasting and even fatal.
Consider a house, maybe it’s your house. This house is tidy. The dishes and laundry are done, the floors and furniture vacuumed, the sheets are changed and the beds are made. However, this house is filled with items being stored. They are tucked away to be dealt with an undefined “later” date. The items are stored in every corner, forming stacks that grow larger with each passing year. The occupants of the house clean around these stacks while doing household chores week after week and month after month, until they no longer really see them. Not gone, but forgotten. The way a bad odor is noticeable when you first walk into a room, but fades the longer you sit in the room, until you no longer smell it.
Our relationship with our own body can be similar to the home with cluttered corners. An ache or a pain or a feeling that something “just isn’t quite right” can be ignored over time. Especially if the cause isn’t immediately apparent. A dark spot that looks unusual or a bump that appeared one day and never went away. Thoughts about any abnormality are shoved to the far corners of our mind until we don’t notice them anymore. We might think our lives are too busy to deal with anything that could be trivial, or that healthcare is too expensive to run to a medical professional with every complaint or question. Worse, is when we know something is really wrong, but fear prevents us from seeking an answer. Instead we opt to ignore, hoping for a miraculous cure.
The practice of being mindful includes meditation as a way to be still and aware of the moment you are in. Traditional meditation focuses on breathing as a way to empty the mind of all thought, but one method of mindful meditation includes a full body “scan” as a way to center yourself in the present by focusing on each area of your body head to toe. Bringing your awareness to each part of the body for an extended moment allows you to truly check in with how that part of your body is feeling and note any potential problems. This method of mindful meditation might also include a conscious relaxing of each muscle, letting go of tension and bringing positive thought to any recent ailments.
A regular practice of mindfulness that brings focus to your body can promote healthy habits by helping you recognize when you have reached a limit. In turn, those healthy habits, such as getting more rest or consuming less, will help you feel more energized and less anxious. Mindfulness contributes to your overall well-being and allows you to live a positive and happy life.
Sending lots of love.