Mindfulness and Change- Healthy Living MagazineApr 23, 2019
Change is the only constant. In a world that is rapidly evolving, and with the all the challenges we face in our daily lives, how can mindfulness help? Here are three steps to a mindful practice to enhance your ability to make change a friend and use it as a tool to help you thrive.
The first step: Bring awareness
Take a pause every so often in your day to notice something about the present moment. It doesn’t have to be anything of great significance; just this small attention to the present begins the practice of awareness. Then, begin to notice your awareness to your thoughts, without judging them or creating a story. Something that is common in this modern world is bringing awareness to “distractions”. How often do you notice that you have to be stimulated by social media, picking up your phone, texting a friend, watching TV, or eating food when you are not even hungry? Just that awareness is a start.
The second step: Create space
Once you have this awareness, it’s like a light bulb you can’t switch off. Here lies an opportunity to change your response to a thought, emotion, or even behaviour. Say, for example, your awareness brought insight that you tend to eat food when bored. The next time you are bored, the awareness has now created some space between the feeling of boredom and the response to eat, which means you now have a choice to either proceed with the old habit of eating or decide not to. Don’t underestimate just how powerful this really is. Each time you reinforce the new habit (in this case of not eating food when bored), you are creating a stronger connection to re-wiring the brain to keep this new, healthier habit.
The third step: Allow for non-judgement
This process isn’t about being perfect, it’s important to let go of any judgements. Potentially, this could be the most challenging step, because as a society we are conditioned to evaluate, label, analyse, and judge most things. Maybe your awareness is spent in this “judging” versus “non-judging mind”. Whatever your experience, be kind to yourself as this can be a diffuser to judgement. Through this change process you may feel uncomfortable, but this is where the magic happens, this is where growth takes place.
May you bring awareness and create space, with a non-judgmental manner, to allow for and to embrace change.
Fiona Kriaris is the Health & Fitness Project Manager for YMCA Victoria, where she has been pioneering mindfulness and meditation throughout the industry to bring a more holistic approach to health and fitness. A graduate of UCLA, at the Mindful Awareness Research Center in Los Angeles, her studies extend internationally as she brings global leading trends to a local environment with compassion and integrity.