How to Build Mindfulness Muscles in Social Work | Best Tips or Hype?

by socialworkhaven

It is so important that in our frantic world, we continue to seek to find peace and practice mindfulness. By not practicing mindfulness, we expose ourselves to a foggy path.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is an individual’s ability to be fully present and not be overwhelmed.

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How to Build Mindfulness Muscles in Social Work

In both my personal and professional life as a social worker, I have experienced periods of anxiety, self-doubt and stress. I have also felt overwhelmed and overworked.

I failed to acknowledge this for many years and attempted to carry on with my life. However, when my body reacted (strong headaches, insomnia, aches and pains) soon, I realised that these were stress responses.

Immediately, I changed my way of thinking and accepted that I cannot ignore the fact that it was indeed frantic around me. I thought of ways of paying attention to ‘ME’ just for a moment daily. Guess what, I incorporated meditation into my life and although this did not calm down the world around me in reality, it gave me a feeling of tranquility.

I also realised that consistency in meditation helped. Just imagine looking to move up a level in swimming skills, there are training sessions you engage in to help increase your stamina, improve your strength and speed. Engaging in training sessions regularly will help improve your swimming performance. Similarly, there are many benefits to adding meditation and mindfulness exercises into our daily or weekly routine.

What does it mean to build mindfulness muscles

After many sessions of meditation, I realise that it is an exercise to cultivate mindfulness. The more time I spend paying attention to my thoughts and mind, the more at ease I feel within myself. And, as we practice regularly to improve our speed and skills at swimming or lift weights to build muscles, there are meditation exercises we can do throughout the day to strengthen our “mindfulness muscle.”

I have come across several misconceptions about mindfulness such as

  • Mindfulness is not a miracle solution
  • Mindfulness is not a quick fix
  • You cannot meditate if your mind is too busy.

Well, I would like to think most people reading this article will agree with me on this; the more awareness we can consistently bring to our day, the greater calm, clarity, and contentment we’ll feel. Kindly let me know your thoughts on how you achieve consistency in any mindfulness practice. Click here to share your views 🙂

Would ignoring mindfulness affect us?

Ignoring mindfulness may come in the way of your progress both in your professional and personal life.

When I was not practicing meditation, I was grumpy, overwhelmed, lost interest in social activities and felt disconnected with family and friends. I engage in guided meditation. I have videos on YouTube and use an App called ‘Calm’ or ‘Headspace’.

For beginners or anyone fairly new to meditating, guided mindfulness exercises are a good option as they provide instruction, encouragement, and support.

My Best Tips to building mindfulness muscles

Tip 1: One minute of mindfulness

Engage in guided or unguided meditation. No matter where you walk, stand or sit, pause for a minute and pay attention to yourself.⁠ Can you feel the floor under your feet? ⁠ How do your shoulders feel, are you tense? Then let go of it now and let it hang.⁠ Is your neck tense? Rotate your head slowly a few times and change direction.⁠ You can do this mindfulness exercise, again and again, repeat it several times a day.⁠ To add variety to the exercise, you can ask yourself different questions.⁠ Here are some few suggestions:

  • Am I warm or cold? ⁠
  • How am I feeling right now? Is there joy, fear, boredom….⁠
  • What are the surrounding sounds? ⁠

Tip 2: Be present in the moment

Do only one thing at a time. No matter whether you are: preparing food, washing your hands, driving a car, talking on the phone, writing a letter, or just looking out of the window and dreaming. Concentrate on the one thing you are doing. Multitasking does not always work; you get too easily distracted and digress with your thoughts. To be mindful means to be present at this very moment.

Tip 3: Just write

Grab a paper and pen and just write on it and let it all out. If you spontaneously write down your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, you can sort of let go of your thoughts. ⁠ ⁠ Whether it makes sense or not, just write and don’t think about it.

Tip 4: Cut out the ‘attention stealer’–Mobile Phones!

Turn off your smartphone in meetings – it is best not to take it with you.

Strictly separate work and leisure: get in the habit of not checking business emails after work and at the weekend. It may be necessary to disable email forwarding to your phone.

Tip 5: Concentrate on individual tasks

If you are faced with daily floods of emails, you can understand how difficult it is to concentrate on the current task. Do not mentally go through your to-do list during a phone call or meeting.

Tip 6: Affirmations

Daily affirmations help me maintain some positivity and improves my mental health. For instance, I have a  “gratitude list” of three things I am grateful for. I do this every day to remind myself of all the positives in my life. I find that this helps me improve and maintain a more resilient and positive attitude.

Tip 7: Create a routine

Developing a routine helps us to build positive daily habits. Motivation can fade away, but having a habit helps boost your energy.  Creating a routine takes time, patience and consistency. It can help us prioritise the most important things in our lives. This can allow habits that help us with our mental health, self-care and overall wellbeing.

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Mindfulness

Mindfulness is key to our overall wellbeing and productivity. What do you think?

Please click here to submit your personal tips and strategies on how you achieve/maintain mindfulness muscles in your personal or professional life.

I am super excited to hear your views and will share your tips with my audience! You will also be added to my email list.

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Tips from readers

  • Janet is a Yoga Spirt Blogger (janetyogaspirit.com) and her useful tips are to engage in reading, breath works, gardening and listening to up beat music!
  • Benson has shared that engaging in natural stress relief means should be prioritised over medication.
  • Sharon (foodandfit.com) has shared that we often much away on food and it will help nurture the body if we pay attention to what the stomach is telling us.

You will enjoy reading

21 comments

majam97 June 14, 2020 - 1:04 pm

Mindfulness really is something we all need. What is the point of living every moment of our life and being in it. It is like wasting your life. When I get myself to be mindfull, I feel like I am holding the moment, than letting it go and just accepting the next one..It feels free and careless. It feels right – it feels like it is supposed to be that way most of the time. 

Since the past is gone and the future is only made in our minds and we cant control it, the present moments are really all we have and have control off. We should feel them as much as we can. 

It also helps with all kinds of bad feelings, since bad feelings come from bad thoughts. When you are mindfull, you don’t have those unpleasing thoughts. 

Ofcourse it takes time and practise, but every moment of mindfulness is better than the last one. We should not even rush it, but just do it because it feels so good. 

Reply
socialworkhaven June 14, 2020 - 4:04 pm

The saying goes, practice makes a man perfect! Thanks for your views 🙂 

Reply
Janet June 14, 2020 - 2:10 pm

Hi. Thank you for sharing your tips on mindfulness. I practice yoga and meditation too. My other way to keep mindful and relax include breath works, read book, listen to good frequency like 538Hz frequency music. I have a small pot of snake plants with me too. When I feel stress, I will also look and feel my snake plants and give her love.

When I’m outdoor, I will keep mindful of the nature and life around me which help to make me feel good. Being close to the nature is the best way!

Reply
socialworkhaven June 14, 2020 - 4:12 pm

Your tips are so useful, I have updated this blog post to reflect the fact that engaging in reading, breath works, gardening and listening to up beat music also helps a lot 🙂

Reply
Benson Eghreriniovo June 14, 2020 - 2:27 pm

Hi,
Great post and thanks for sharing this wonderful tips of mindfulness. Agreed totally because of the chaos present in our world, there is no better time for people to reach out and start you the natural ways to help themselves before their conditions worsen to the point of relying of medicine that can only mask symptoms not tackle the root cause. I myself is also fan of mindfulness, which when I stop doing it, I definitely see the tensions built from time to time.
Thanks and I will definitely share your site to friends.

Reply
socialworkhaven June 14, 2020 - 4:10 pm

I agree with you Benson. Now more than ever, we will benefit from mindfulness practices. Thanks for your views 🙂

Reply
Sharon June 14, 2020 - 4:54 pm

Great post, I had never heard the phrase, ‘mindfulness muscles’ but I am trying to increase the amount of mindfulness throughout my day. I find mindful eating especially beneficial, so often we just munch away on food and don’t even take the time to appreciate it or pay attention to what our stomach is telling us. I’ll have to try out the Calm app though, have you any good suggestions for short mindfulness videos on Youtube?

Thanks,
Sharon

Reply
socialworkhaven June 14, 2020 - 5:37 pm

Hello Sharon, thanks for your comments. I love the idea of paying attention to what we eat. I must admit I often eat just to fill me up. Paying attention to what I eat should help me body feel nurtured too. I find https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEfs5TJZ6Nk just perfect. It is a very short video and the narrator’s voice is so calming. This one is from calm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl_B45DpMLU. Calm is great but it is not free so I can recommend you try Headspace for free and upgrade later if you find it useful. 🙂

Reply
Brendaliz June 14, 2020 - 8:03 pm

Hello!
Yes I agree very much with this piece. Always be aware of how you feel in any given situation. I believe being aware gives you a certain power within yourself. I love that you included tips to strengthen your mindfulness and I look forward to implicating them into my life as I walk along my own journey!
~Thank You~
Brendaliz

Reply
Iheanacho David June 15, 2020 - 12:01 am

Nice tips on building mindfullness muscles. I read throug and noticed that i have not been doing it the right way. I dont cut out attention stealers especially my phone as i reply messages and it distracts me. Increased mindfulness can lead you to make choices that lead to more physical activity. Mindfulness meditation can also foster a more accurate perception of your level of physical activity. Thank you for ths.

Reply
socialworkhaven June 16, 2020 - 9:50 am

Thanks for stopping by! I agree with your views on  how engaging in mindfulness can lead to an improved physical health 🙂 

Reply
evansese June 15, 2020 - 12:05 am

what an informative and insightful post you’ve got here on Best Tips to Building Mindfulness Muscles…I must say you indeed outdone yourself this time because this is probably the best most concise article I have seen on tips and guide on how to build mindfulness muscles… thanks a lot for sharing your effort is very much appreciated…

Reply
socialworkhaven June 16, 2020 - 9:52 am

How inspiring Evanesse and thanks for your lovely comments 🙂 

Reply
edahnewton1 June 15, 2020 - 12:12 am

Hey nice article you have there, your thoughts are indeed invaluable. The importance of mindfulness in increase our ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, anxiety and depression cannot be overemphasize, hence there is need to build mindfulness to take advantage of this benefits. However, following the various tips highlighted in this article will definitely help in building  mindfulness

Reply
socialworkhaven June 16, 2020 - 9:53 am

Your views are spot on and indeed the need to regulate our mental health cannot be overemphasised 🙂 

Reply
Matt Lin June 15, 2020 - 8:54 am

Hi,

Thanks for this article about guiding us to think positively, and it works well for me. I used to be a person who has negative thoughts in the past, but I experienced many functional changes after practicing positive thinking for 15 years. I am still grateful for my friend who brought me to it till now.

Besides your five tips for building mindfulness muscles, what I love to do is focusing on my breath. Most of the time, when I have a terrible feeling, I breathe shortly and feel suffocated sometimes. Once I pay attention to my breath, I would take as many deep breaths as possible to calm myself down. I won’t stop focusing on my breathing until I have a peaceful and stable breath. Not sure your thoughts on this, but it does help me a lot & bring my life with more lights compared to the past.

I hope my sharing helps other readers too.

Cheers.
Matt

Reply
socialworkhaven June 17, 2020 - 5:39 pm

Hello Matt, thanks for your comments. I completely agree with you about focusing on our breath. I find that it has such a calming effect. Personally, I feel at peace and relaxed after I have a peaceful and stable breath exercise. Your sharing has helped me and I believe it will help other readers too 🙂

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Catherine June 15, 2020 - 7:39 pm

Hi, this is a great article I can relate to myself. I’m practicing yoga and mindfulness on a daily base; and i’m always open for other ways to ‘calm our monkey mind’ 😉

I experienced that contact with nature is a great way of being mindful, such as forest bathing or ‘shinrin-yoku’, listening to nature sounds, walking barefoot to ground… Also, essential oils and herbal teas can create small mindful moments during a day.
It’s often in the little things we can find ease and take a small moment to relax…

Take care,

Catherine.

Reply
socialworkhaven June 16, 2020 - 1:25 pm

Contact with nature is so key Catherine. Nature sounds and scenes offer a calming effect on the mind 🙂

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lee August 13, 2020 - 12:37 pm

For me and my practice of mindfulness it’s been about consistency.

It’s just become something I do every day and have created habits/rituals to consistently try and improve and get better each day.
I’ve been varying my breathing techniques in the morning and just learning from as many people and sources (like this article). I’m always trying to find tips and better practices.

I can look back now and see the improvements I’ve made and continue to set goals for myself to improve.

I have definitely seen the positive affects from mindfulness in my relationships and just overall spiritual health and attitude.

Great article!

Reply
socialworkhaven August 15, 2020 - 11:57 am

Thanks for stopping by Lee, glad to read that you found it useful 🙂

Reply

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