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?
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.