Mindfulness is simply the idea of going back to oneself. As the old eastern teachings advise, living in the now, paying attention to the present moment and having the self awareness of what is going inside and what emotions are present. Then, being in control of your emotional state and your behaviors.
After measurements of brain activity of a large number of participants, researchers found that individuals who regularly exercised mindfulness showed significantly increased blood flow to areas of the brain associated with controlling emotions and regulating stress. According to these findings, this increase of blood flow not only helped reduce stress and anxiety, but helped people to actually change their brains and improved the quality of their lives.
How to reach this state? We usually seek quick fixes and look for short cuts to reach our goals, but the reality is that we have to build this strength. We actually need to exercise mindfulness regularly.
So if you really want to build your mindfulness strength, you can start by this simple exercise, and make sure to use it whenever you are threatened by emotional reactions.
1. Be aware of the start of any emotional reactivity, any shift in your emotional state.
2. Stop, and take 3 full breaths. Be aware of your breathing in and out.
3. Pay attention to your feelings and notice your emotions. Ask yourself “what am I feeling now?’
4. Go back to whatever you were doing keeping the awareness of your feelings
With these simple steps you can quieten your brain and shift from a reactive mode to an active mode.