Mindfulness as a practice is about as daunting to most people as stretching is after a workout.
It’s just hard to STOP and do what we know we should do. Constantly overstimulated, checking our phones 1,500 times a week(that’s an actual number), sorting through 30,000-60,000 thoughts alone(again, an actual number), and receiving/processing 2,000,000 bits of information every SECOND add to the task of being STILL.
To sleep, your brain has to “cache” all information that it didn’t process during the day. So the more stimulated, the more you must calm yourself before you can even get to rest. If the sorting doesn’t happen or is slow, you wake up feeling tired.
The conscious mind CANNOT take in all two million bits, so it does three things:
If the brain deems something unimportant while it’s going through all this sensory perception, it deletes it.
Wonder why some things you just don’t hear when you’re in the middle of the conversation and the person reminds you later they already told you?
Wonder why you can watch movies packed with information like ‘Inception’ and not get everything the first time?
This is why.
What the brain does not understand it has a tendency to distort. A classic example is looking up at a white wall and seeing a simple speck, thinking it’s a spider or some other sort of bug.
Your mind is trained to protect against that which it FEARS, which is usually just a misunderstanding.
I mean, it’s a speck on the wall, not a spider. Although sometimes it’s a spider, but come on, how many times has a spider actually attacked you?
What the brain can classify based on past experiences, memories, jobs, values, beliefs, etc. it absolutely will classify. From everything ranging from colors to food to clothing to triggers that leave you face down a$$ up – this is a general term for what life does to you if you aren’t mindful (wink, wink) – as your brain will seek to quickly sort that which it knows, understands, and, based off your own personal preferences – likes and dislikes.
Why Mindfulness is Important
Mindfulness seeks to put us in a state of being able to OBSERVE thoughts without judgement. It helps us to just see the thoughts, instead of getting caught up in them.
Thoughts are like waves in the mind that, yes, could be considered your personal general wavelength. Whatever wavelength you are on is exactly the wave you will experience in reality.
What we don’t want and what we want are irrelevant, because either of those two, subconsciously and consciously, are where your mind has focused its attention on. What the mind focuses on, especially as thoughts, will come to pass in reality sooner or later.
This is why you must learn to let the thoughts come and go, instead of riding them.
You are the sum of all of your thoughts. Your thoughts lead to actions.
Simple Ways to Be More Mindful
- Take a minute to turn off your phone and just BE at least once an hour. It’s a simple 60 seconds of basic decompression where you let your racing thoughts slow down to a pace where you can observe them
- During that 60 seconds, make sure to start with three deep nasal breaths, before exhaling calmly and slowly through the mouth. After those breaths, simply observe your breathing for the remainder of the minute.
- When observing, thoughts will come. Focus on observing your breathing and counting to ten. If you get to ten, start over. If a thought comes and interrupts the counting, start over.
- By the time you really start relaxing, your minute will most definitely be up.
Use these tools to help begin a mindful practice. You can be mindful while walking, eating, driving etc.
When eating, just eat, don’t watch TV or be engaged in phone activity. Focus on chewing and the meal at hand. You’ll be surprised how much your brain enjoys being able to get signals from the stomach that it’s full, instead of overeating.
Let me know if these tips worked for you. I’d love to hear from you, so subscribe and leave comments so I can interact with you!
If you haven’t already check out the SuperHero Academy Podcast and get the audio version of this episode!