Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by certain activities, thoughts, or just life in general? Most people do, but this doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. There are a lot of ways you can tackle this and Mindfulness is one of those ways. It can help you turn overwhelming sensations into more comfortable and manageable ones. This enables you to handle things more effectively and ultimately, improves your ability to develop yourself socially.
What exactly is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice that has its roots in Buddhist meditation. Being mindful means being aware of your thoughts from moment to moment, being aware of your feelings, bodily sensations, and environment. This can be practiced through meditation with the two most well-known techniques being the ‘body scan’ and ‘mindful breathing’. How to get started with these techniques will be explained below.
The aim of Mindfulness is to be aware of the above-mentioned sensations without connecting any form of judgment to them. There is no right or wrong when practicing Mindfulness, accepting things for what they are is one of the ways it can help to improve your mental state, and, with that, it also enhances your ability to effectively lay focus on your Social Development.
Mindfulness practice can, therefore, also make you compare yourself less to others. If this is something you’re struggling with, we recommend you read the hyperlinked post!
There is an extensive list of all the benefits that Mindfulness can provide you with, but instead of boringly summing these all up in writing, we’ll let mister Jon Kabat-Zinn explain them in the video below.
And these aren’t even all the benefits! Multiple studies have shown that the list of benefits from Mindfulness practice is quite incredible and it’s a shame so many people discard the practice altogether for whatever reason. Don’t be one of those people and start improving your life using one of the most effective ways possible!
How Mindfulness and Social Development relate to each other
In order to understand how Mindfulness impacts Social Development, we recommend you quickly explore the concept of Social Development and what this is exactly. You can do this by reading this article.
A significant number of Mindfulness benefits impact your Social Development as you might have already read. The most important aspects to consider are Self-Regulation and Self-Awareness.
Knowing this, Mindfulness, then, is most effective for people that suffer from phobias, borderline, posttraumatic and dissociative disorders, self-distortions in short. These conditions reinforce a weakened, depleted, and damaged sense of self and undermine the development of beliefs, which are followed by even more negative consequences. These disorders will ultimately impair your Social Development very negatively if you let them.
Another disorder that can be treated through Mindfulness practice is Social Anxiety. Mindfulness can help someone notice when their social discomfort arises and the person can then act accordingly by using another technique to stay calm or even walk away for a brief moment.
Mindfulness can bring a lot of calmness, relief, and positivity in your life, even if you don’t suffer from before mentioned disorders. This can ultimately improve your confidence as well!
As you begin to dive deeper into the practice and make it your habit, you will find that things that bothered you before are much easier to let go of. Piece of mind isn’t as rare anymore as it used to be and your life will have more meaning as you repeatedly slow down and look introspectively at who you are and what you want in life.
Getting started with Mindfulness
Now you know how much of an impact Mindfulness can have on your life, it’s time to get started with the practice!
The Body Scan:
We’ll give some easy steps to performing the body scan, however, a guided body scan meditation may be helpful if you are still a beginner.
- Get comfortable in whatever position you prefer. If you’re prone to falling asleep, but don’t want to, lying down is not recommended
- Take a few deep breaths to slow down, close your eyes, and prepare to dive introspectively. Breathe from your stomach and slowly begin relaxing all the muscles in your body
- When you’ve slowed down, slowly bring your attention to your feet and begin observing the sensations that come up. No matter what comes up, acknowledge it alongside any thoughts or emotions and gently breathe through it
- If you feel a blockade or some tension in your body try to breathe into it and visualize the tension leaving with your exhales
- Continue slowly going up from your feet until you have ‘scanned’ your whole body. Try to notice where your stress accumulates and try to recognize any patterns that may arise connected to possibly stress evoking activities. Open your eyes when you’re done or simply keep them closed a little longer while focusing on your breath/body.
This technique can have similar effects as the Body Scan so the choice is yours! Here are 5 easy steps for Mindful Breathing.
- The first step is the same as with the Body Scan. Get in a comfortable position without falling asleep if you’re not doing this before bed
- Again, take a few deep breaths and slow down. Become aware of your body and where you make contact with the chair, your mattress, some cushions, or maybe even the grass if you’re doing this outside. When you’re ready, close your eyes and breathe calmly and naturally
- Really tune into your breath and feel the natural flow, the rising and falling sensation of your body breathing
- Your mind will undoubtedly start to wonder when doing this and this isn’t good or bad. Simply notice when your mind has wandered off, and what is was wandering about, then gently bring your attention back to the breath with all its sensations
- Do this for however long you feel like doing it. When you feel like you’re done, slowly begin tuning into your surroundings, the sounds and smells that may be present. Slowly open your eyes and that’s it!
These practices in general should provide you with focus, energy, and a feeling of balance within your body and mind. It can also help you to focus on the small wins in life and cultivate self-awareness. However, this isn’t always going to be the case.
Mindfulness and these meditational practices are skills that have to be learned and perfected for all the benefits to display themselves. So don’t stress it if you happen to come out of the practice one day with a slightly worse feeling than you might have had before. This happens, but as you practice more and more, you will go deeper into your being and will be able to focus better on your breath and body instead of your mind which is trying to stimulate you (unnecessarily) all the time.
We hope to have sparked your interest in Mindfulness practice as a starting point to kickstart your (Social) Development. As has been explained, the benefits can truly be miraculous, making this a practice worth exploring! Especially if you feel uneasy at times or feel that you need a helping hand in various uncomfortable situations, Mindfulness can help you ease into these situations and activities. Enabling you to develop yourself more effectively and ultimately improving your quality of life!