Do you have a stressful job?
Is running your own business stressful?
Is your health and relationships suffering as a result of trying to manage everyone’s expectations and meet the needs of your client’s and family?
We tend to think that mental health is about those that suffer with depression or some form of debilitating anxiety or post-natal depression. The reality is that mental health is much broader than that, and we all need to understand that mental health is just like physical health. We can be a bit fitter or a bit run down and a bit exhausted at times; mentally as well as physically.
If we think about mental health more broadly, we start to consider other aspects of mental health such as; over-thinking, obsessive tendencies, ruminating, insomnia, work-a-holic, negative thinking, aggression, being too passive, avoiding conflict, looking for conflict, worrying and so on….
Some of these things may resonate with you, and if so then it’s very important to consider the reasons why, and that is when the term mindfulness starts to become relevant in our life. Being mindful means being aware of our thoughts, feelings and emotions; noticing what is coming up for us and investigating the reasons why that may be happening.
Human’s have over 70,000 thoughts a day and 98% of our thoughts are the same as the thoughts we had yesterday… can you imagine that everyday you think about the same stuff 98% of the time.
When we are stressed, we are 40% less intelligent and make poorer decisions.
The other reality is that our thoughts drive our feelings and our feelings drive our behaviours, so if we always have the same thoughts, we always feel the same things and then we do the same stuff… WOW!
Ok so those last 3 points helped change my life because I realised if I want to be happy, healthy and successful I had to not just understand myself better, I had to change fundamentally years of habits and behaviours. Step 3 of my book; Broken to Unbreakable, 12 Steps to an Unbreakable Mind, Body & Spirit is dedicated to Mindfulness and since becoming more mindful, I have changed my life, written 2 books, started a business and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been at any stage of my life – even as an athlete. I recognise that mental and emotional health is as important as physical health, and understanding and managing stress and our response to stress is fundamental for mental health.
The benefits of embracing Mindfulness are as follows:
- Mindfulness helps stop the negative cycle of thinking and ruminating, and we can use reflection as a method of processing our feelings and emotions.
- Mindfulness allows us to gain control over the incessant chatter and self-criticism in our head and not allow challenging moments to cloud our judgement.
- Mindfulness allows us to acknowledge our suffering, fears and anxiety and to thank those emotions and feelings for helping us become the person that we are today.
- Mindfulness helps us overcome anxiety as well as understanding our stress response, which allows us to cope better with stress, particularly when exhausted from lack of sleep.
- Mindfulness helps us to prioritise our health and wellbeing above all else so we can be the best version of ourselves and those that depend on us.
So how do we learn to become more mindful and embrace all the benefits it offers in order to manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviours?
- Take an introductory course in Mindfulness and then be curious about it relative to your life.
- Note down what you think about 98% of the time.
- Think about what drives your emotional reactions.
- Consider how you respond to stress, pressure and deadlines.
- Reflect on your thoughts, feelings and emotions and learn to understand yourself better. Once you understand your behaviour you can take steps to change it.
- Meditate daily 10-12 minutes per day.
There are many benefits of practising mindfulness to help you connect with yourself and overcome stress at work and in your personal life. If you would like any further help or support, please do reach out. Mindful Mums Queensland offers non-judgemental advice and support as well as programs and workshops to help individuals and teams develop mindfulness skills and strategies to improve well-being.