mindfulness cartoon fox in hammock by Rone | www.imjussayin.com

It’s the new year, and that spells the start of resolution season. Resolutions commonly fade in weeks, but mindfulness once mastered aids all new year resolutions to fruition. Now if you follow me on @imjussayin2 will be familiar with my practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is not some gobbledegook ‘religion’ that requires leaf eating and sandal wearing. Nor do you have to go on a retreat and bathe in icy cold water in silence. Mindfulness is a simple mobile technique of focusing on the present that heightens awareness. Anyone can practise anywhere at any time to improve the brain function, increase self-love, reduce stress and boost the joie de vivre.

Mindfulness Is Science Not Gobbledegook

Research shows that mindfulness increases brain activity and the density of brain tissue. In particular, it affects the hippocampus which manages our resilience amongst other things and the anterior cingulate cortex which regulates self-control amongst other things. They and other parts of the brain are boosted by mindfulness because the practice trains the mind. It teaches the brain to control frantic negative thoughts and behaviours (including race bias). So the mind is then able to focus on good positive, productive thoughts and attitudes. That boosts the anterior cingulate cortex and reduces stress which damages the hippocampus.

mindfulness mickey mouse returns serve | www.imjussayin.com

Brain Noise It’s Tennis

I always say that nobody can be as great a critic of me, as I am of myself (mothers being the exception to the rule!). Thus, I have so often wanted to take my head off and walk away when it was being enthusiastically critical of me for making a mistake. Can I wax lyrical!

However, a constant barrage of negativity steals joy, but mindfulness dampens down the noise in your head. That’s because it teaches you how to take control of thoughts and recognise them for what they are. I call it the pause and return technique. Pause and consider the idea. That does not mean you have to believe it. View your thoughts in an objective non-judgmental way.  So, accept the emotion it brings for acceptance always comes first, change follows. Then return negative thoughts with positive ones. I usually return serve with something that makes me laugh or thoughts of gratitude because there really is somebody else worse off.

mindfulness darts and dart board | www.imjussayin.com

Practising Mindfulness

So how much does it cost and how is it done? Well, it is free. Mindfulness is a simple mobile technique of focusing on the present that heightens awareness. It can be practised anywhere by anyone at anytime. On a journey, at work or in the bath. It takes the time of one deep breath to one hour. It is your call.

Simply focus all your attention on one breath. Breathe deeply through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow in and out of your body. But feel it. Focus on that breath and nothing else. Follow the air as it passes through your body. If your mind wanders, bring it back and start again. Focus on the one single breath. Did the world around you go quieter or still? If so welcome to mindfulness. That is all you need to practise mindfulness.  From that one breath, you can increase your focus per breath to minutes.

Mindfulness is a lifestyle that you have to practise but once mastered it aids all new year resolutions, whenever you start them. You can follow my daily mindfulness tweets at @imjussayin2

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