Benefits of Mindfulness
The simplicity of mindfulness is mindboggling. For something that takes only seconds to connect and become present, it has far-reaching health benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Reduced stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Better sleep
- Gastrointestinal relief
- Decreased depression or anxiety
- Improved emotional health
- Improved mental health
It only takes seconds to connect and become present. What is not so simple is remembering to be mindful on an ongoing basis.
Sometimes these reminders come in surprising ways.
A few years ago, on my way home from a meeting, I had one of those adrenaline rush experiences that served as a great reminder for being mindful and paying attention.
I was driving in the right lane on one of Calgary’s main four lane roads when a car beside me started to change lanes right into me. In a fraction of a second, I was up past the curb beside me and halfway on the shoulder.
I’m grateful our cars didn’t touch each other, but it was very close!
The woman changing lanes must have noticed the noise when I hit the gravel on the other side of the curb. She pulled ahead of me and came to a stop in front of me.
Once we had both stopped, she came out of her car to mine to apologize and to make sure I was ok. She also promised that she would pay much more attention when she was driving.
I was impressed and touched that she made this effort to apologize and make sure I was ok.
Bypassing the Stress Response
As we navigate through more than a year of pandemic response, we are beginning to realize the cost. It has created an unprecedented epidemic of negative mindset. And an enormous number of people who are more focused on the fearful inner chatter of the mind than on the world around them.
Stress (especially the incessant chatter) hijacks the thinking part of your brain. And leaves it at the mercy of the emotional brain and unconscious behavior.
It is absolutely essential to have a collection of tools and techniques that can bring you back to the present moment and reconnect you to your whole brain and your heart.
It could save your life!
Mindfulness is one of these tools that can reconnect you with your thinking brain in as little as one exquisite breath. Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the world’s most well-known teachers of mindfulness. Here is his definition: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
Using Sound to Connect with the Present Moment
Sound is another way to connect with the present moment – in seconds!
Why is that?
Sound is defined as vibrational energy. It has to push against atoms and molecules in order to move through a medium. Like air.
And like you! Sound goes through you! And as it does that, it sends your atoms and molecules into a state of vibration.
Depending on the type of sound, or source of the sound, the feeling of the sound traveling through your body is an instant connection to the present moment.
Here are some of my favorite, less than a minute, Harmony Moments:
- hum a favorite tune or just hum.
- tap a Tibetan bowl or singing crystal bowl. One of the things the sound of a Tibetan singing bowl does is to reset the body to its natural state of harmony.
- sigh 2 or 3 vocalized sighs to stimulate the relaxation response.
- tap my Perfect 5th tuning forks, close my eyes and listen.
- sing ahhhhh for a few moments, while focusing my awareness on what I’m grateful for.
I encourage you to have a list of your favorite harmony moments, written or in your mind. Use them whenever you feel a sense of overwhelm beginning, so you can return to sharing your passion and gifts with those who need them.
In Health and Harmony,