Mindfulness

A woman sitting in a desert

As we wind down our summer vacations and start to turn our focus on going back to school and establishing routine, we are also faced with lingering uncertainty and perhaps some fear. To relieve some of the burden of the mind we ask you to use the month of August to focus on the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice of maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we are sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. When you become mindful, you realize that you are not your thoughts; you are simply the observer of your thoughts and this allows you to move from moment to moment without judgment. Mindfulness requires a certain presence with your thoughts and a practice of accepting them as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away. So, instead of letting your life go by without living it, you awaken to experience.

Most of us don’t experience our thoughts in awareness and we allow our thoughts to control us. Environmental influences are very strong at moment and they may be having an enormous impact on our current state of being. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the biomedical scientist who introduced meditation into mainstream medicine says “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall.” In order to feel more in control of our minds and our lives we need to step out of this “current”, pause, and, as Kabat-Zinn puts it, “rest in stillness—to stop doing and focus on just being.”

Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic and more secure. They have higher self-esteem and are more accepting of their own weaknesses. Anchoring awareness in the here and now reduces the kinds of impulsivity and reactivity that underlie depression, binge eating, and lack of focus. Mindful people can hear negative feedback without feeling threatened or having the impulse to respond. Cultivating a nonjudgmental awareness of the present bestows a host of benefits such as a reduction of stress, a boost in immune function, the lowering of blood pressure, and a promotion of an overall state of well-being.

Most of us don’t experience our thoughts in awareness and we allow our thoughts to control us. Environmental influences are very strong at the moment and they may be having an enormous impact on our current state of being. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the biomedical scientist who introduced meditation into mainstream medicine says “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall.” In order to feel more in control of our minds and our lives we need to step out of this “current”, pause, and, as Kabat-Zinn puts it, “rest in stillness—to stop doing and focus on just being.”

Here are 5 things you can do to help cultivate mindfulness:

1. Focus on Your Breath

Seems so simple but it’s not merely commonsense advice. It reflects what meditation, yoga, and other stress-reducing therapies teach: that focusing on the timing and pace of our breath can have positive effects on our body and mind. A recent study in the Journal of Neurophysiology supports this theory, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention, and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath. Use breath as your anchor, anytime you feel things are not in your control focus on your breath to bring you back to the present moment.

2. Develop Emotional Intelligence

This means being perceptive of the emotions you are experiencing, as well as those of people around you. It is the ability to notice these emotions without judgment or alteration. Emotionally aware individuals accept who they are because they understand that each person is different. This kind of awareness leads to greater love and compassion for the self as well as the others.

3. Mindful Eating Habits

Being mindful of the food you eat can promote better digestion, keep you full with less food, and influence wiser choices about what you eat in the future. Be mindful by asking yourself am I eating because I am hungry, or is there an emotional component I am trying to satisfy? Is this food nourishing my cells? How do I feel after I eat this food, am I energized, bloated, sluggish or feel guilty? Eating mindfully can help you free yourself from unhealthy habits around food and eating, it can also free yourself from negative thinking and judgment.

4. Mindfulness Meditation

Meditation does not only changes our mindset and perspective, it actually can change the shape of our brains. Generalized neuroimaging meditation studies found that 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation also changes our brains, rewiring them towards more positive thoughts and emotions. It is scientifically proven to lower our cortisol levels (stress hormones) and heal our DNA.

5. The Art of Acceptance

The mind’s natural tendency when faced with pain is to attempt to avoid it—by trying to resist unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

But in many cases, negative feelings and situations can’t be avoided—and resisting them only magnifies the pain. The solution is acceptance—letting the emotion be there. That is, being open to the way things are in each moment without trying to manipulate or change the experience—without judging it, clinging to it, or pushing it away. The present moment can only be as it is. Trying to change it only frustrates and exhausts you. Acceptance relieves you of this needless extra suffering.

Most of us don’t experience our thoughts in awareness and we allow our thoughts to control us. Environmental influences are very strong at moment and they may be having an enormous impact on our current state of being. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the biomedical scientist who introduced meditation into mainstream medicine says “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall.” In order to feel more in control of our minds and our lives we need to step out of this “current”, pause, and, as Kabat-Zinn puts it, “rest in stillness—to stop doing and focus on just being.”

The time to be mindful is in the present. The now is where we gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing. At Vibrant Skin Bar we are mindful of the space we create for our patients and we have implemented a very high standards for patient safety through sanitation and protection. Out of the awareness of our patients needs we are constantly redesigning our treatment menu to ensure that our patients are receiving the best quality offerings and creating a healing space for them to receive them.

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”- James Baraz