by Ashley Dahl, MSW
You’ll enjoy things more.
Mindfulness involves being present, moment-to-moment. Studies show that even being present with tedious tasks is more enjoyable than being checked out doing something pleasurable.
You’ll stress less.
Most of us over-activate our sympathetic nervous system, the system that triggers fight, flight and freeze states. As a result, we frequently feel stressed out. Mindfulness helps us to bring greater discernment to our nervous system. We learn how to interrupt stress cycles and engage our parasympathetic nervous system (natural caregiving system). In turn, we feel increased levels of calm and steadiness.
You’ll spend more time responding rather than reacting.
Reducing fight, flight and freeze states supports blood flow throughout our entire body, including our brain. Why is this important? When our brain is well-nourished it’s considerably easier to be thoughtful, patient and compassionate.
You’ll learn you’re not alone in your humanness.
We have an epidemic of harsh inner critics in our country. These are the judging voices in our heads that chime in when we feel out of control, hurt or afraid. They tell us that, for whatever reason, it’s essentially not okay to be human. Mindfulness offers an alternative voice. It helps us gently, yet unequivocally, understand being human means sometimes getting things wrong and not knowing what to do. Mindfulness allows us to appreciate how difficult experiences naturally can give rise to difficult feelings. Rather than viewing ourselves as flawed, we begin to trust in our innate goodness. More than that, we’re able to attune to sense of shared humanity knowing that every other being on this planet is just as perfectly imperfect as well.
You’ll be kinder to yourself, and others.
In learning to pair awareness with perspective and compassion, our inner dialogues become kinder. We feel safer in our own skin, more of the time. This, in turn, strengthens our capacity and motivation to meet others with presence and understanding. Research backs this up – studies demonstrate higher quality of relationships among mindfulness practitioners.
Want to learn more? Join Ashley at her upcoming Beginning Mindfulness Meditation Series. Begins 4/10. (or try a free class on Tuesday, March 27, 6.45pm, sign-up here!)
She’s also teaching a workshop later this month, Spring Cleaning for Your Mind, integrating mindfulness mediation with the restorative practice of yoga nidra.
For her full teaching schedule head here.
Written by teachers at unfold studios and guest authors.