Mindfulness – Trend or Way of Life?
by Liz Rutledge
There has been a lot of discussion in the last few years about this thing called “Mindfulness.” In this world of smartphones and free wi-fi, it can be challenging to find stillness. The more busy schedules get, the more we are expected to multitask, eat on the go and rush through life, the more Mindfulness is desired.
What is it exactly?
Mindfulness is “being present and aware in a moment without judgment”.
That’s it. Getting still and letting our nervous systems settle is critical for balancing ourselves. If you can sit up in a chair with feet on the floor, place one hand on your belly and one on your chest. Close your eyes. Feel your belly, then your chest, rise, and fall naturally, listening to the air come in and out of your lungs. As you repeat this, try counting to five on the in breath and down from eight on the out breath. Then repeat for a few, slow, deep breaths. Do this for a minute any time you need to reduce anxiety, calm down and focus. This is a great breath pattern for settling down to sleep at night as it is calming.
A lot of scientific research has shown that Mindfulness helps improve focus and concentration and reduce stress and anxiety. And the most beautiful thing about it is it’s just breathing. And, we have our lungs with us from the moment we are born until the moment we die. They are always with us, and they are free. Finding our breath puts us in a happier mood, helps us sleep deeper, reduces anxiety, helps our hearts be healthier, and improves our air intake among other benefits.
It’s as simple as taking one, slow, deep breath to deepening the Mindfulness Meditation experience to three, then five, then 10-20-30 minutes. More experienced meditators can meditate for an hour or more. The Dalai Lama meditates for something like seven hours a day.
The beauty of Mindfulness being trendy in the information age of smartphones, the Internet, tablets, and iPods is that there are free and low-cost apps available to guide us through Mindfulness meditation.
Some of the more popular apps are*:
- The Mindfulness App (free)
- Headspace (free)
- Calm (free)
- MINDBODY (free)
- Buddhify (Price: iPhone, $4.99 and Android, $2.99)
- Insight Timer (free)
- Smiling Mind (free)
- Meditation Timer Pro (Price: $0.99)
- Sattva (free)
- Stop, Breathe, & Think (free)
Additionally, there are hundreds of free guided meditation videos on YouTube and Vimeo.
Some of my favorites are:
The Honest Guys’ 10-Minute Guided Meditation is a great first thing in the morning right after you wake up.
Yoga Nidra Body Scan Meditation is great if you have a little more time.
And this one from Michael Sealey is good any time to help reduce anxiety and stress:
I have known Liz for over 25 years, but it’s not until recently I have been inspired by her devotion to her family, the environment, and well-being. Her transparency and friendship is something I admire about her. Thank you, Liz!
SustainableThree founder Liz Rutledge is deeply passionate about the environment.
She has been doing Mindfulness in one form or another since she was 10 years old. She teaches Mindfulness at schools in the Denver area and is in the process of getting her Mindful Schools certification.
Mindfulness is about taking care of ourselves, our community, and our planet. Liz teaches people how to compost, garden, recycle and other sustainability activities. She is a blogger and has written the blog on sustainablethree.com since 2014. In addition, Liz is a freelance writer and dabbles in novels, editorials, and other blogs. She loves to garden and travel as well as being a wife and mother to three children.