We teamed up with STOP, BREATHE & THINK to bring you Mindfulness, in a cup.
So. What is it about mindfulness and meditation? Have a read.
STOP, BREATHE & THINK.
You can rewire your brain just by meditating because our brains change based on how they are used. Every time you have a thought, neurons connect like little impulses across the map of your brain.
When these neurons connect, your brain grows thicker and stronger in certain places based on the thoughts you think. We can actually change the circuitry of the brain to help us be more peaceful and compassionate, simply by directing our thoughts and imaginations.
Just like a bodybuilder lifting weights to build muscle, the more you think positive thoughts, the stronger the part of your brain that allows you to experience positive feelings will become!
STRESS & THE BODY
Many of the body’s functions work automatically, like breathing, blood pressure and digestion. These functions are controlled by the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS is divided into two branches: the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) – the “fight or flight” response during stress, and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) – the “rest & digest”, or calming response.
The SNS or “fight or flight” activates in your body in response to very stressful situations. Adrenaline circulates through the blood affecting all of the body’s organs.The SNS is your body’s natural response during emergencies, but often times it’s triggered during everyday stress, and when this happens it can make us feel unhealthy.
When we practice mindfulness & meditation, focusing on deep relaxed breaths, we can turn off the SNS(“fight or flight”) and turn on our PNS (“rest and digest”), which calms us down. When the PNS is activated, this promotes good digestion, supports your immune system and just makes you feel good all over.
BASIC TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
- Choose a regular place to practice. It can help to set up a cushion or chair that is just used for your meditation, which becomes a helpful physical reminder.
- Keep it simple: Try starting small with 5 minutes a day, and slowly build from there.
- Find the best time: Most people find they are more likely to meditate consistently if they do it first thing in the morning, but experiment for yourself.
- Create a routine: Make meditation part of your daily routine. Try thinking about it in the same way you think about brushing your teeth and washing your face.
- If you don’t have time to sit, find creative ways to incorporate it into your day. If you are stuck in traffic, waiting in line or taking a walk, take a mindful breath each time someone honks or the signal turns red, as you wait, or with each step you take.
You might find it helpful to use a guided audio track to get started. Try this short 3 minute Mindful Breathing meditation by Stop, Breathe & Think, or download the app to find peace of mind anytime, anywhere.
A Mini Mindfulness Practice for Drinking Tea
A mindful moment with a cup of tea is an excellent way to clear your mind of clutter and restore your focus by using all of your senses — sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch — to bring awareness to your body and surroundings.
Here’s how to do it:
- Listen to the sound of the tea as you pour it into your cup
- Pause to feel the warmth and weight of the cup as you hold it in your hands
- Notice the color of the tea.
- Think about where it came from.
- Take a moment to breathe in the scents rising from the cup. What do you notice about the aroma?
- Savor your first sip. Bring your attention to how the liquid feels in your mouth. What is the temperature? What flavors can you taste?
- Now, pay attention to how the warm liquid moves down your throat, into your chest, and gently warms the rest your body.
- With openness and curiosity, notice any sensations, thoughts or feelings that arise.
- If you become lost in thought as you continue to drink, use the next sip as an opportunity to start over.