"Where shall I focus my thoughts right now?"
I set this as a reminder to go off every 3 hours on my phone yesterday. It was such a great reminder! No matter what I was doing at the time, I paused and asked myself this question. It helped me focus more constructively and intentionally. For a bunch of the reminders, I was at work. So, I was pretty focused on my work anyways. But, the reminder brought greater intentionality to my focus. It's a little hard to describe, but it was a subtle internal shift. Each time, it brought me back to the bigger picture of what I was doing in the moment. Each time, I broadened my perspective to consider, "Does this fit in with my priorities and goals?"
I got the idea from an interview I heard of Brendon Burchard on Marie Forleo's podcast. Buchard and Forleo are both amazing entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, and authors. In the interview, Burchard stated an interesting stat. That the average person watches 4 hours of tv/day. Adding that up, it comes out to 13 years over a person's lifetime spent watching tv! Wow!
Now, you may not be a tv watcher, but it could be youtube or the social media flavor of the day. The point is that we all spend quite a bit of time in "distraction." Now, I'm not talking about rest, spending quality time with loved ones or on self-care. Those are vital activities that allow you to be the best that you can be.
But, I'm talking about true distraction. For me, I'll click on my Insta app, Facebook app, and then the Gmail app on my phone. One right after the other. Even if I just checked it less than an hour ago! I don't even think about it! I do it on auto-pilot when I have a free moment. We all have our thing. Whether it's going down the Youtube rabbit hole, or into the voids of the Internet world.
Setting a reminder to ask yourself this question,"Where shall I focus my thoughts right now?" is so helpful in redirecting your focus and energy onto what really matters most to you. Now, it could be that you ask yourself that question, and you're like,"I shall focus on Instagram!" And, that's totally ok! At least you gave it thought and awareness. Shifting away from doing things just out of habit. Instead, moving into intentional action with awareness.
So, give it a try if it speaks to you! And then, let me know what you find! Any new insights gained from this practice? I'd love to hear all about it! Leave a comment below and let me know!
*Note: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I may receive compensation if you buy something using the link below.
Can mindfulness practice boost your immune system?
I read a research article recently that suggested this link. The study was a literature review that looked at 20 randomized controlled trials. All the trials looked at mindfulness based practices and immune markers in the body.
The results suggested that mindfulness based practices may:
1. Decrease the expression of NF-KB. This is a molecule in your body that's a precursor to the inflammatory response.
2. Decrease C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a molecule that is pretty routine to check for when doctors are looking for signs of inflammation. CRP is high in a lot of common inflammatory processes. Things like infection and flare-ups of inflammatory bowel disease can increase CRP levels.
3. Increase telomerase activity. Telomerase is an "anti-aging" enzyme in your body. Increased activity of telomerase is a good thing.
How amazing is that? Not only can meditation calm your mind, but it can affect your physical body too! These results suggest that mindfulness meditation can boost your immunity. When your immune system is strong, you're less prone to infections and illness.
So, what's mindfulness?
It's being present to the moment without judgement.
How do you practice mindfulness?
There are SO many ways to practice mindfulness! Here are a few examples:
1. Set a timer on your phone to go off 3x/day. When the timer goes off, pause whatever you're doing. Take a breath. And, look around. Take a moment to observe what's going on in the moment. What's going on in your body? Your breath? Your surroundings? Let go of any judgement that comes up in your mind about it. Simply observe.
2. Go for a walk. Thich Nhat Hanh says "walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet." What a beautiful description of mindful walking! When you walk, be aware of each step. Notice how your foot feels as it touches the earth. How is this different if you're walking on the city sidewalks, or suburban gravel trails?
3. Meditate. Meditation helps you practice bringing your awareness back to a focus point. In mindfulness meditation, your focus point is the present moment. The first session on my new guided meditation series is on being present. If you're new to meditation, following a guided meditation like this one is a great place to start!*
So, I'm curious to hear from you! Were you aware of this connection between mindfulness and your immunity? Are you surprised by this finding? Do you already practice mindfulness in your daily life? If not, are you interested in trying it based on this study? Leave a comment below and let me know!
*Use this link for a free 7-day trial of the Simple Habit App. Note: This is an affiliate link, which means I may receive compensation if you buy something using this link.