If you google “benefits of mindfulness,” you’ll find some pretty cool stuff. Reduced rumination, stress reduction, improved memory & focus, less emotional reactivity, increase relationship satisfaction…all very cool things, right?
But I think it’s important to dive into what that really looks like, because this stuff is incredibly impactful. So today, I’m sharing 8 ways Mindfulness changed me.
Before I practiced mindfulness, I was struggling with a few things. I never would have expected that one practice would help with all of them. I was drawn to Mindfulness meditation when I was experiencing anxiety and depression (I had heard it was helpful with these), but I had no idea what other unexpected benefits would flow my way.
Here are the top 8 things that changed for me when I started practicing Mindfulness:
- I stopped bingeing. I had gotten in the habit of soothing myself with food. I felt overwhelmed quite frequently, and eating helped me avoid discomfort. Well, it made me physically uncomfortable, and I certainly beat myself up about it, but I enabled me to check out of my deeper feelings and concerns. Mindfulness helped me stop all of that. As I became better able to observe my own patterns and be present with my feelings, I developed the capacity to be with discomfort without resorting to bingeing. Little by little, I was able to interrupt my habit and make a different choice.
- I stopped engaging in dysfunctional family drama. There was a time that my family drama would derail me for months. Someone would say or do something that would trigger my anger, sadness, and loneliness, and I would ruminate over the details endlessly. One weekend with my family could turn into 3 months of total de-motivation, as I simply wanted to withdraw from the world. I was just so affected by everything – it took the wind right out of my sails. Mindfulness created the space I needed to be able to observe it all without getting wrapped up in it. It was the key to being able to establish healthy boundaries so I could actually stay focused on my business and other relationships, even when fam dram was rampant.
- I stopped repeating my old patterns in my current relationship. I used to project so many old relationship patterns onto my partner. I assumed he had the same expectations that previous partners did, and I thought the was judging me for things that it turned out he couldn’t have cared less about. I was so self-conscious at the beginning of our relationship, afraid to make one wrong move. Mindfulness helped me recognize that it was all in my head. None of this was coming from him. I was able to interrupt my own habituated thinking and disengage from the cycle of self-criticism. Tension dissipated from our relationship. Honestly, I don’t think we’d still be together if I hadn’t learned these skills and freed myself from these misplaced thoughts.
- I learned how to trust myself. This one is so big. When I was a kid, I was super-confident. Somewhere towards the end of high school and beginning of university, I started to doubt myself, big time. My perfectionism was strong, and I was so afraid to make one wrong decision. I was so concerned about what I “should” do that I never stopped to figure out what I actually wanted to do. Mindfulness helped me drop beneath the noise of external pressure so that I could hear my own desire. I had never known this sense of connection to myself before. I was so accustomed to performing according to others’ expectations that this was really a whole new way of being for me. If you make all your decisions based on what “makes sense” or what everyone else would do in your position, you end up feeling empty inside. I know, because I did that. Thankfully, those days are behind me now and I honour my desires. I walk my unique path with courage, knowing that self-loyalty is a huge key to freedom and happiness.
- I cultivated the capacity to speak up when the stakes were higher. I was never afraid to speak out against injustice in the world. But when it came to confronting people in my life that were treating me unfairly? Shaking in my boots. I was so concerned about pleasing others that I would completely shut down. I’d take the pain of whatever dynamic was disturbing me and I would suck it up. You can’t just stop doing that. Your nervous system can’t handle it and will do whatever it takes to avoid it. Mindfulness increased my capacity to be with discomfort (see point #1), so that I could actually open my mouth and find the words to ask more of people in my life that were hurting me. Boundaries are a beautiful thing, and they are made real when you have the ability to articulate them.
- I got over my anxiety. In my early 20s, I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. That means that I worried way more than the average person at levels that were quite disproportionate to whatever I was facing. With Mindfulness, I learned to observe my own thinking rather than being totally caught up in it. Through increased self-awareness on a moment to moment basis, the spiraling slowed down and eventually stopped. Of course, I still have anxious moments from time to time, but I now have the skills to meet myself where I am, and that makes all the difference.
- I reclaimed my confidence. With all the anxiety, bingeing and de-motivation, I became a shrinking violet. Looking back, I’m kinda floored to remember how incredibly self-conscious I had become. I was so stuck, unsure of everything, afraid to take a chance. My inner critic used to have all the power – and Mindfulness changed all that. Now, I can recognize her voice when she pipes up, but she’s not driving the bus anymore, that’s for sure. I relate to my fear in a whole new way. Now, I can step forward courageously, knowing that my choices line up with my values. I’m living in integrity, and for me, that clarity is what fuels my confidence.
- I became resilient AF. Life is a bumpy ride. As Lily Tomlin says, “The road to success is always under construction.” Resilience is a life skill that we all need – the ability to bounce back after a difficult time. Once upon a time, I would take ages to recover from a set-back. Thanks to Mindfulness, I now naturally bounce back more quickly. This does not come from positive thinking or choosing my attitude – it’s a natural side-effect of practicing Mindfulness & Self-Compassion. These practices have strengthened my nervous system so that I have a greater capacity to be present with adversity, and to recalibrate after a tough time has passed. I’ve noticed this difference in a few situations – from things not working out as planned with a business goal, to grieving the loss of a loved one. I am better able to feel my feelings, and because I’m not resisting them, they move through me more quickly. In the end, I feel like myself sooner than I would have in the past.
As you can see, there’s substance behind my passion for Mindfulness. There is no area of my life that it hasn’t touched in a positive way. Imagine what could be different for you when you embrace this practice. Where in your life would you stand a little taller? What might it feel like to live your life more consciously, and on purpose? Can you buy generic Cialis in USA over the counter, check this webpage http://howmed.net/cialis-generic/.