Beauty of being mindful

Mindfulness is often praised as a very helpful and beneficial practice. Joy Duffield takes a closer look

The health and beauty industry is slowly bringing in more mindful breathing techniques to ensure relaxation prior to or during treatments. We encourage clients to quietly focus on the present moment and how it feels, including mindful breathing.

Being mindful is so beneficial to maintain both physical and emotional health. It does not discriminate with any physical disabilities. Nor does it require elevated levels of energy. It is about focusing on one simple task for a few minutes a day.

Scientifically proven health benefits of mindful meditation include reduced stress levels and anxiety, reduced heart attack rate, increased immunity, lengthened concentrations span, improved sleep and even pain control. Plus, there are no negatives! There are several reasons and depths for meditation, for example spiritual, mantra, movement and even loving kindness.

I am by no means an expert in these fields, but have had a taste of the benefits. Mindful meditation classes are available to teach and guide one into the realm of this relaxation. Some are available online. The full practice of mindfulness reduces stress in part by helping people to tune into and care for their experiences and painful emotions, rather than ignoring or pushing it away.

In South Africa, I am aware of one global Mind- based Stress Reduction Programme (MBSR), which is an eight-week programme and covered by some medical aids. As introduction, why not give a little mindfulness a try…

Sit in a comfortable position. A quiet area where one will not be disturbed is most appropriate, but being mindful can be done anywhere, at any time with a little bit of focus. Set a timer with a gentle notification for five to 10 minutes. Cast your gaze downwards or close your eyes.

Take three to six deep breaths, breathing out slowly. Relax your facial expression and drop our shoulders. Continue to breathe normally while focussing on your breaths. Feel the air coming in your nostrils, down into your lungs. Take note of how your chest rises and falls. Notice the lull before you take a new breath.

This may sound like an easy task, but you will soon find your mind wandering! No need to be concerned, it is perfectly normal. As soon as you realise that your thoughts have wandered, take them back to your breathing. Continue to do this whenever necessary. You will find that with time you will be able to focus on the breathing for longer.

Alternatively, you can allow your mind to take you to your dream place. It could be walking through a forest, lying on the beach, or standing at the peak of the highest mountain. Here again, one will find the thoughts diverging away from the dream spot. Do not judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts when they wander. Just gently take your thoughts back to your happy place.

That is it. That is the practice. It has often been said that it is quite simple, but it’s not necessarily. It does take patience, but with great rewards and health benefits.


contributor

Joy Duffield has been a C4-C5 quadriplegic since 2005. She is the owner of Beauty Academy International, an international training Institute for the beauty industry and a distributor of hair and beauty products in South Africa.

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