Have you ever experienced lingering annoying thoughts? Or had thoughts race around your mind like a matchbox car on a toy racetrack? Feeling unsettled, confused, and restless is not uncommon.
And it’s no wonder we feel a little frantic these days. People are dealing with economic pressures, social and political discord, and any number of a myriad of mental and physical health problems. All of these take our time and attention.
In response, people search for balance. And there is a lot to balance: life and work, work and play, friends and family, the mental and physical, and of course the spiritual and material.
In our last article, CBD and Maintaining Healthy Balance in Your Body, we discussed the three key areas to work on when one is trying to achieve balance. These areas are:
- The Physical,
- The Mental, and
- The Spiritual.
When one of these three areas is out of whack, it can negatively affect the other two. In the previous article, we focused on balance in the body and its relation to the endocannabinoid system and CBD.
In this article, we will focus on mindfulness. We will also discuss how CBD oil, CBD hemp cones, and other CBD products relate to mindfulness and a healthy state of mind.
What is Mindfulness?
With all the talk about mindfulness these days, one could get the idea that it is just the latest and greatest millennial fad.
But mindfulness, which is also referred to as mindful meditation, has its roots in India. In fact, the earliest written records of meditation are from around 1500 BCE. Mindfulness is one of the many forms of meditation. In meditation, a person learns to focus attention.
Mindfulness helps people achieve a moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and the environment, through gentle, non-judgmental disciplines and exercises.
In mindfulness, we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judgment. There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the now rather than focusing on the past or daydreaming about the future.
How this Ancient Practice Come to the U.S.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is given the credit for bringing mindfulness to the U.S. He was first introduced to Buddhism while studying at MIT. In 1979, he founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In his clinic, he adapted Buddhist teachings on mindfulness and developed a stress reduction and relaxation program.
Kabat-Zinn is currently a Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He has downplayed the connection of mindfulness to Buddhism, probably to help him get it more widely accepted and used by the general public. As we can see by the rise in the practice of mindfulness, this strategy worked.
How Mindfulness can Help
Mindfulness can help you become more comfortable, healthy, and happy! By being more mindful one can enjoy the pleasures of life in the moment.
Makes sense right?
Think about it. If we are preoccupied with worries about the future and/or regrets of the past, we can miss what is happening right before our very eyes!
Mindfulness, being in the present moment, allows one to enjoy the things big and small that are happening right now. And there are SO many things to enjoy! The flowers, the sky, friends, and family.
Being Mindful Can Save Your Life
There is an age-old question which is: “Is your glass half empty or half full?” Being mindful doesn’t mean you won’t see the empty part of the glass, it just means that you WILL notice the full!
Being mindful allows you to see the whole glass. It helps you see bad things that are happening and act. If smoke is drifting into the room or a small child is teetering dangerously on the edge of a cliff—being mindful puts one in a much better position to observe the danger and act.
A great example of this can be seen in car accident statistics.
Being distracted while driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents. Cell phone calls and texts have gotten a lot of attention as driving distractions. There is many a DMV waiting room with warning videos of teens driving and crashing while texting.
In fact, cell phones are the second largest distraction involved in car accidents accounting for 12% of distraction-caused accidents. The number one driving distraction is simply being “lost in thought” or daydreaming! This accounts for a full 62% of distraction-caused accidents! A huge number of car accidents could be prevented by drivers practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness and Emotional Reactions
You can’t control everything that happens in your life, but you can change how you react to those events. Life is about the choices we make from moment to moment—being mindful allows you to positively respond to situations rather than responding in a reactionary way.
Example: Your spouse drops and breaks a treasured coffee cup while cleaning up. Pick the one that exemplifies mindfulness. You could:
- Scream at your spouse
- Quietly pick it up, feeling resentful the whole time
- Feel your disappointment and sorrow without judgment. Realize that a coffee cup is a material thing whose existence was going to come to an end at some point anyway.
If you picked 3, you would be correct.
Now, your spouse could react in a number of ways—either mindfully or not mindfully. Let’s see if you can pick out the mindful choice. Your spouse could:
- Blame you for leaving the cup on the table rather than putting it away.
- Keep cleaning up without saying anything.
- Observe that you look a little sad and apologize with a promise to get a new cup.
If you picked 3 again, you would be correct. It is clear from this example that being mindful can also improve relationships.
Practicing mindful meditation has been shown by research to increase grey brain matter. This is good as this difference grey matter is part of what differentiates humans from other animals and improves our cognitive ability.
How to do Mindful Meditation
Mindfulness is actually a type of meditation. As stated earlier, meditation is a way of helping people focus their attention.
When people think of meditation, they often get a picture of a robed monk sitting cross-legged on a mat—eyes closed, incense burning, palms turned up with middle finger and thumb forming a circle. And probably some chanting and gongs sounding off in the background.
But the truth is, mindful meditation has several different looks.
- In a nice quiet and comfortable space, sit on a chair on the floor with your head, neck, and body straight but not still.
- Put aside thoughts of the past and present
- Be aware of your breathing, Focus on the air moving in and out of your body. Feel your belly go up and down, and the air entering your nostrils and leaving your mouth.
- Let thoughts come and go, whatever they may be about. Don’t try to ignore or squash them, just stay calm and keep breathing.
- If your thoughts start to take over, simply return to your breathing without judgment.
- When you are done, sit for a minute or two and become aware of your surroundings. Get up gradually.
- Find a nice quiet place to walk—indoors or outdoors. It could be a large room, walking back and forth.
- Walk at a natural pace putting your hands wherever they are comfortable.
- If it helps, you can count steps up to 10, and then start again.
- With each step, pay attention to the lifting and setting down of your foot. Feel the movement and shifting in your body—up and down, side to side.
- Let your thoughts come and go. Whatever may capture your attention whether it is thoughts or something interesting in the environment, come back to the feeling of walking. Don’t judge or be hard on yourself.
- In turn, pay attention to each of your senses. You can start by paying attention to the sounds you hear for a few minutes. Next move onto any smells you notice. Finally, move onto the vision. What colors do you see? What objects? Don’t fixate, just observe.
- Be open and aware of everything in your environment, no matter where you are walking.
- At the end, come back to the awareness of the feelings and sensations of walking. Notice your feet again and the movements of your body as you walk.
This form of meditation has its upsides and downsides. One meditates to develop clarity and focus—this may be difficult with the mind grows tired. On one hand, lying down may signal the body that it is time to sleep, making focus and clarity difficult.
On the other hand, laying down may be of benefit for some people. Lying down can promote relaxation and ease. If one is meditating in order to sleep better, lying down is the best choice of positions.
There are some different types of mindfulness meditations that you can try while laying down, or sitting for that matter.
Body Scan Meditation
Though it sounds like a medical procedure, the body scan meditation is actually quite spiritual. Basically, in a body scan, you bring your awareness to different parts of your body, gradually moving from one end of the body to the other. You can move slowly from top to bottom or bottom to top. As you experience each part of the body simply observe but pass no judgment.
This is the practice of developing kindness and love toward people. In this mediation, we are cultivating that love and kindness towards ourselves. Practicing this in a lying position honors us by taking care of ourselves as we rest in a relaxing position.
As with sitting meditation, we can work with our breath. When we are resting on our backs we can really feel the places in our body that change and shift as we breathe.
How Long you should do Mindful Meditation
Whatever type of mindfulness meditation you chose to practice at any given time, you can rest assured that you don’t have to do it for hours to benefit.
In fact, just ten minutes makes a difference. Even two minutes if that is all you have.
Marsha Lucas, Ph.D. psychologist, and author Rewire Your Brain for Love, suggests keeping it short. She says that our brains respond better to bursts of mindfulness, so being mindful several times a day is better than a long session or even a weekend retreat.
Remember, meditation is an individual experience. It is a good idea to simply start and see what works best for you.
A Mindful Way of Life
In addition to mindful meditation, there are exercises and everyday things one can do to help bring about an overall sense of well-being.
Be mindful during routine activities.
Edward Halliwell, mindfulness teacher and co-author of The Mindful Manifesto recommends bringing awareness to activities that one normally does on autopilot.
For example, pay attention as you brush your teeth, shower, eat meals, and wash the dishes. Focus on the sight, smell, sound, taste, and feel of these activities.
Start right away in the morning.
Starting the day with mindfulness starts the day off right and sets the stage for the rest of your day.
Practice mindfulness while you wait.
This is a great wait to transform a frustrating time into a positive one—whether it’s being stuck in traffic or a long line. In these situations simply bring your attention to your breath, feeling the in and out of your body, from one moment to the next and just let everything else just be.
Mindfulness and CBD Oil
Interestingly enough, some practitioners of mindful meditation not only use CBD oil but take it prior to doing mindful meditation as a part of their overall routine.
The fact is, though meditation hails from the mental/spiritual realm and CBD oil hails from the physical realm, they have some things in common.
#1 Written records about mindfulness and medical cannabis both go back to 1500 BCE.
The first written records of meditation date to 1500 BCE in India. The first written record of using cannabis/hemp for medical purposes can be found in the Ebers Papyrus, also written around 1500 BCE. This document is among the oldest and most important medical writings in ancient Egypt.
#2 Mindfulness and CBD help individuals deal with stress and anxiety.
In 2012 a research review was done. Of 36 trials it was found that 25 of them reported better outcomes for symptoms of anxiety in the meditation groups compared to control groups.
Research has also found CBD to be useful for anxiety disorders. CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory which is believed to be why it is helpful in treating anxiety which has been linked to inflammation.
#3 The number of people practicing mindfulness and using CBD is on the rise.
A team of researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics identified meditation as the fast-growing form of mindfulness. Its use among Americans went from 4.1% of Americans in 2012 to 14.2% in 2017.
The use of CBD, which was very low in 2012, has skyrocketed. The global industry is estimated to grow by 700% and could be worth $21 billion by 2020.
CBD, Mindfulness and You
We encourage you to be proactive about achieving balance in your life using mindful meditation or any approach that works for you.
Our CBD tinctures, CBD body cream, and CBD hemp cones are especially popular among customers searching for natural approaches to balanced and healthy living.
If you are interested in integrating CBD in your regime please feel free to visit our store.