Being present and mindful can help mute the chatter in your brain and return to your center.
Center yourself with mindfulness quotes
Our whole world is currently in uncharted territory and that can get very frightening and out of control. But each of us has a powerful mental tool that we can use to restore our balance, says Vernon Williams, MD, a neurologist and founder of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles and consulting neurologist for the Los Angeles Rams. That secret weapon is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is simply focusing and directing your attention. And while it may sound easy, it’s not just a pop culture buzzword. It’s one of the best ways to help your brain adapt to and manage stress.
“This is not just any passive breathing exercise. It’s an important resource for brain training,” says Dr. Williams. “Gaining control over your thoughts so that your thoughts don’t control you can be a superpower for many people.”
Health benefits of mindfulness
The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are mental and physical, including improved immunity, better heart health, less depression and anxiety, and sharper cognitive skills.
One of the greatest benefits of being mindful is how it enriches every other aspect of your life, mentally and physically, by helping you make better choices, says Joshua Felver, PhD, professor of psychology at Syracuse University and director of the Mind BodyLaboratory . “Regular practice of mindfulness gives you the opportunity to step back from stressors so that you have the space to respond adaptively and not react in ways that can ultimately be harmful,” he says.
“Mount of empirical evidence has shown that mindfulness practices reduce the experience of stress and improve immune system function, thus providing a unique tool to improve one’s body and mind, even in difficult circumstances,” explains Felver.
One way mindfulness works is by helping to calm the autonomic or “fight or flight” system, triggering a cascade of calming brain chemicals, adds Dr. Williams to it.
There’s no one right way to be mindful, Dr. Williams says. Some people find it easiest to be mindful sitting alone in a quiet place, while others prefer moving meditation, such as running or walking outdoors. Some people follow a guided meditation, while others are best just counting their breaths. The key is to find what works best for you and — this is the most important — make time every day to do it, he says.
Mindfulness is not something that happens. It’s a learned skill that you develop over time through practice, says Dr. Felver. If it sounds a little daunting, know you’re not alone; it’s one of those things that many people know “should” do but find it hard to think about, he adds. Sound like you? Start with these morning brain exercises to clear your head.
One way to find the inspiration you need to start your own daily mindfulness practice is to read mindfulness quotes.
let it be
“It’s not a matter of letting go – you would if you could. Instead of ‘let it go’ we should probably say ‘let it be’.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn, MD, professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and creator of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) technique
Mindfulness is not about escaping negative emotions or painful experiences, but about learning how to feel at peace with them. If you’re having trouble finding that peace of mind, try focusing your attention on one of these phrases to calm your anxiety.
Focused attention leads to productive action
Mindfulness is about love and loving life. When you cultivate this love, it gives you clarity and compassion for life, and your actions happen in accordance with it.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn, MD
(Here’s how to practice mindfulness for a better night’s sleep.)
Go to the hills
“Adopt nature’s pace: her secret is patience.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and writer
Its ability to inspire mindfulness and bring a sense of peace is just one reason scientists call being outdoors in nature a “miracle drug” for your brain.
(Here are the benefits of nature.)
The secret of happiness
Mindfulness helps you go home in the present. And every time you go there and recognize a state of happiness that you have, happiness comes.” — Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist
Many people have touted different “secrets” to lasting happiness, but the real secret is that it will be a little different for each person, and being mindful can help you find your own secret to happiness.
Age is just a number
“The older you get, the more ‘mindfulness’ is about trying to remember why you came up.” — Victoria Coren Mitchell, English writer
Some days mindfulness is easier than others. But practicing mindfulness is one of the memory exercises that has been proven to help your brain stay sharp as you age.
Silence can be deafening
“Some of the greatest battles will be fought in the silent chambers of your own soul.” — Ezra Taft Benson, religious leader and former US Secretary of Agriculture
Being alone with your thoughts can be scary, but mindfulness teaches you how to accept all your thoughts in a non-judgmental and compassionate way.
Stay on track
“Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.” — Omar N. Bradley, American General
It’s easy to get caught up in what other people want and lose sight of what you want and need. Mindfulness is a way to refocus your priorities. Little time? Try one of these 8 mini meditations.
Honesty with kindness
“Buddhist mindfulness is about the present, but I also think it’s about being real. Wake up to everything. Feeling that nothing can hurt you when you can see justice.” — Krista Tippett, American journalist
Mindfulness affects every system in your body and helps you heal from within, Wolkin says.
(Check out these things that happen to your body after just 15 minutes of meditation.)
Perception is reality
“It’s not about what you look at, it’s about what you see.” — Henry David Thoreau, author
Being mindful can help you look beyond the surface to see what really happens in everyday situations. This starts with you: Here are ways to be nicer to yourself.
It’s a revolution
“The mindfulness revolution isn’t as dramatic as the moonshot or the civil rights movement, but I believe it can have just as big of an impact in the long run.” — Tim Ryan, US Congressman
Mindful living can be a revolutionary act in a world that revolves around infinite acquisition and consumption. What do you really need? What’s the best way to get it? If you do this, you may not always feel guilty.
“Mindfulness means being aware of how you focus and make decisions, and not get caught up in the tweet or buzz of your BlackBerry.” — Howard Rheingold, American writer
Divided attention is just one of the many ways your phone use affects your mind and body.
We are what we think
“Mindfulness can help people of any age. That’s because we become what we think.” Goldie Hawn, American actress
Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment on purpose and without judgment to the activity you are undertaking.
Childish is not childish
“One of the great things about kids is that they don’t care about anything other than simply being interested in things. It is the pinnacle of mindfulness to re-approach the world as a child.” — John Dickerson, American journalist
Mindfulness can be as simple as thinking back to your childhood and doing something simple that you enjoyed back then, such as looking at the clouds, throwing rocks in a puddle, or walking slowly around the block. Tap into your inner child with these 20 things you’re never too old for.
Break bad habits
Mindfulness is a way of being present: paying attention to and accepting what is happening in our lives. It helps us to be aware of and distance ourselves from our automatic and habitual reactions to our daily experiences.” — Elizabeth Thornton, British-Canadian writer
One of the most powerful aspects of mindfulness is to help you identify and correct patterns or habits that are not working in your life.
Find inner strength
“Mindfulness brings contentment, not by consuming more externally, but by harvesting more from within and sharing more from without.” — Rohini Nilekani
If you find meditation more frustrating than calming, make sure you don’t make these meditation mistakes that are causing you stress.
Focus on what you can control
“It’s not about what happens to you, but how you react to it.” — Epictetus, Greek philosopher
Storms come in every life – your only choice is how you will weather them. For more inspiration like these mindfulness quotes, read these meditation quotes to help you focus.