Last Updated on June 14, 2022 by melissanreynolds
This is your mindfulness 101 a brief introduction – what you need to know about mindfulness as a busy mama. What it is, benefits, my experience, resources and more.
Definition of Mindfulness
Jon Kabat Zinn defines mindfulness as:
in the present moment, and
Kabat Zinn is the founder of the Mindfulness -Based Stress Reduction program that has been used for chronic illness, veterans and more for the past 40 years. It is a structured eight week program introducing the concepts and practices of mindfulness. It has research backing up it’s efficacy in many chronic illnesses. Including chronic pain, which is of particular interest to me.
The conditions that mindfulness can help include:
- Chronic pain
- Immune disorders
Benefits of mindfulness include:
This article provides a fantastic summary of the research and reading I have done over the past several years. I provide a reading list below as well.
- Relieve stress
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve sleep
- Reduce chronic pain
- Increased emotional regulation (reduces anxiety and depression)
- Better physical health (helps a range of chronic conditions)
- Improved memory and attention
- Stronger relationships
My Experience and Benefits
Mindfulness is a pivotal part of my holistic management plan for managing fibromyalgia, four children and the rest of life. I practice guided meditation every day to help me with sleep, rest, stress and pain management. I colour with the children as a shared mindfulness practice. I maintain a journaling practice that is mostly freewriting, but often I will use prompts to help me process various things. All movement that I undertake as a person with a sensitive system is mindful – yoga or walking done with mindfulness of how it is impacting my body.
Years of practice has decreased my stress response and helps me when I am overwhelmed. I use my mindful breathing practices whenever I am experiencing stress, overwhelm or high pain levels. These tools are a crucial part of my daily management toolkit.
In this free series I teach you my four best yoga tools that can become part of your daily plan.
There are many mindfulness practices. Meditation is one that I practice regularly, it has a whole load of research and benefits on its own.
- Body scan meditation
- Mindful breathing
- Five senses exercise
- Mindful movement (yoga)
Each of these practices deserve a whole post on their own. I will work through the list as I am able to. My focus here on this site is to help you use these tools in the context of our super busy lives. None of these tools need to take more than a few minutes a day.
My post sharing my best mindfulness, rest and self-care tool ever Yoga Nidra Helps You Manage All The Things – gives you my best tool, it can be done at multiple junctures through the day (you choose) and for 10, 15, 20 or more minutes according to what you have.
How to Practice
It’s about quality not quantity. You want to create a simple but sustainable habit to complete. So think about what practice resonates best for you. I began with meditation because that is what I needed, profound rest. By taking 30 minutes to do my meditation, I give quality to the rest of my day.
You could start with a five minute free writing practice. Get a cuppa, set a timer and write for five (or 10) minutes. Whatever comes up, allow it out. I have a couple of pretty journals you might like to help you with this below.
The point is that there is no one way to do it. Try a few ways, see what resonates and then commit. All you need is 5-10 minutes a day. Then the hard part is taking your mindfulness throughout your day. Being mindful outside of your formal practice. This is where you reap the most benefit.
Reading list for Mindfulness 101
Defining Mindfulness article
Benefits of Mindfulness article
(Please note these are affiliate links, if you make a purchase using these links, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you)
Wherever You Go There You Are – this is a general book about mindfulness and meditation from the founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Therapy (MBSR) programs. I highly recommend reading this one.
You Are Not Your Pain – this is about using meditation for pain management
Full Catastrophe Living – this is also about using meditation for illness management
Yoga Nidra The Art of Transformational Sleep by Kamini Desai – this is my favourite book about yoga nidra guided meditation