You can take a step back and breathe just for a moment and be present and be able to then re-nourish, rejuvenate yourself before you confront that situation or before you need to make that decision.
Because what happens in mindfulness, as you sit in awareness, is the truth of reality that starts to come to fruition, which is this: The past cannot be changed. The future cannot be forced.
All we have is the present moment. And in that present moment, we can make the best decisions we can in order to better the lives of others, but it takes some thought and it takes some congruence.
It takes our ability to connect with our values and the things that we hold dear.
So you hopefully have experienced that breath is a foundation of a mindfulness practice, which leads me to the third and final reason why mindfulness can extend and expand your ability to take on stress, especially as you help others, which is mindfulness fosters wellness.
And what I mean by wellness is this ability to cope with stressors in our lives and bounce back. In fact, mindfulness is a tool of self-care. When we give of ourselves to a cause or we provide skills and interventions that will make a change in healing, we need to rejuvenate and we need to refresh the wells.
Mindfulness allows us that space and time to refresh, to connect and to be able to access all different parts of ourselves. In a 2014 study by Shonin, Gordon and Griffiths, these researchers used a more religiously oriented mindfulness-based practice — it was more faithful to its Buddhist roots — and these researchers asked the participants how they felt after this six-week program.
One participant said that they felt “cradled in comfort.”
In a study I conducted last year, I asked Christian psychotherapists who used mindfulness-based therapies questions like: How did you feel using this mindfulness-based therapy with your client? What worked? What didn’t work?
But they responded in a very interesting way, and they said that they felt a presence of the divine with them in that room as they work with their clients.
In fact, that divine presence assisted them; it was a source outside of themselves that helped them in discernment, that helped them extend the healing process. It helped further the work that they did in healing their clients.
These therapists understood that they could access a part of themselves, a spiritual side that was accessed through the practice of mindfulness.
And when we can use spirituality, our body responds. And when our body responds, our mind responds. And when our mind responds, our spiritual selves respond again, so forth and so on in a virtuous cycle.
Mindfulness allows us to extend the limits of our human capabilities by accessing all parts of ourselves. We don’t have to compartmentalize those different aspects. We can all work in unison to confront a situation or to help us determine what the next step is.
Mindfulness fosters wellness because we’re caring for ourselves as we care for others. We use all spheres of our lives to attack the problem.
So if you’re interested in building a mindfulness practice, first start with your breath. Anchor your thoughts with a passage or a quote. Take in the benefits of mindfulness.
You will experience stress differently, you will make better decisions, and you will be fostering wellness and an attitude of self-care.
Breathe and be mindful.
Download This Transcript as PDF here: Using Mindfulness to Deal with Everyday Pressures_ Regina Chow Trammel (Transcript)
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