The first definition in the dictionary reads “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” It’s funny that few of us knew what ‘mindfulness’ meant 5 years ago, though the term was coined in 1910 by Buddhist scholar T.W. Rhys Davids. We really are in a new era of old enlightenment! Whilst science is a driver of our success as a species we cannot ignore the knowledge history teaches us - a lot of the time the answer we are searching for has been there for hundreds or thousands of years. Mindfulness is about being more present and more in tune with your body (a mind body connection). For example, recognising the signs of stress so that you can intervene. This might be in the form of a raised heart beat, grinding teeth at night, pulling out eyebrows, picking skin, digestive problems, acne and so on. Keeping a diary can help you to see the causes and effects of stress on you personally. Mindfulness comes in different degrees and you get out what you put in. Think of it as self care and self love. Mindfulness is so important because we can’t control the past or live the future yet - all we have is the present. (I feel like such a fraud writing this because I am terrible at living in the present!!! I am always rushing or thinking about what’s next. Work in progress.)
"The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something."
Stress is a dangerous contributor to sickness and one we are still learning about. The body and mind is under constant stress because we have not been able to adapt quickly enough to the modern world we have created - lights at nighttime, speed of movement in vehicles, polluted air, computer screens, sedentary jobs, little time outdoors, and pressurised work environments being just a few examples. A lot of the time we do not know we are stressed, but we can feel and sometimes see the effects of stress in our bodies. Imbalances from stress can lead to autoimmune disorders, hormonal crisis, and disease that can be reversed through rectifying nutrient deficiencies and healing your gut, liver and brain. The root cause is only too often about what we put in and on our bodies. This has to be addressed as opposed to only taking a prescribed drug to treat the symptoms of the condition. Because of modern day stresses, it is more important than ever to focus on reducing the stress in your life and coping with the stress you do have (because it would be impossible and unrealistic to eradicate stress entirely). This is easier said than done, but there are some tips below to help get you started.
"A lot of the time we do not know we are stressed, but we can feel and sometimes see the effects of stress in our bodies."
• Try a meditation application. • Keep a diary to help you recognise your personal signs of stress and work with a functional doctor to see if you have adrenal issues. • Take the time every day to relax, focus on your breathing and clear your head, even if it’s just for ten minutes. • Get 8 hours of quality sleep a night. • Take some deep belly breaths when you feel stress hormones kicking in. • Listen to your body more - feeling cranky? Well, what did you eat over the past few days? What did you drink? When did you last exercise or take some time for yourself? • Getting to know what is normal for your body by keeping track of your menstrual cycle if you are a menstruating female, or noting how certain foods affect your digestion, or how certain people affect your emotional state are all ways to dial into your body and make the right decisions to support it. • Gardening, yoga, listening to music and aromatherapy (not all at once!) can help to alleviate stress. • Do not feel guilty about self care - self care is self respect and responsible and makes you feel good about yourself.