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The Pause: What is Mindfulness?

In this day in age, it is easy to get caught up with work, traffic, errands, and countless other things that will cause us to lose focus on what we are actually doing. We start to just go through the motions and our entire days can start to feel like a blur. We become so busy and don’t take a moment to just take a breath and pause. This could this affect our decision-making process, our eating habits, and other components of our life.

Life on Autopilot:

Dr. Toni Nixon is a health and wellness coach, mindfulness trainer, educator consultant and imagery expert and she has a mission to increase your ability to be more present and focused in the now. “Most of the time we operate on autopilot, thinking about all the things we have to do, planning worrying, multitasking,” said Nixon. “When we are on autopilot, we’re not in touch with what’s going on right now and are more likely to respond to situations with old habits,knee-jerk reactions and habitual ‘go to’ behaviors.” Dr. Nixon explains that mindfulness is the opposite of operating in the autopilot, numbed state, but rather learning to live in the present moment. 

So how do we become more mindful?

Mindfulness is not about learning how to rid your thoughts or emotions or eliminating stress, Nixon explains. “We will always have thoughts and there will always be stress.” Mindfulness is about learning to work with it more effectively. Becoming mindful is all about embracing the ‘pause’ and recognizing when you are caught in your chain reaction of thoughts, impulses, habits and ‘go to’ behaviors and learning how to stop and choose how you want to react,” said Nixon. Breaking out of the autopilot mode is the first step.

Focus on the now:

Living in the present moment could affect your health positively by giving you more control of your actions. “Research reports that 95% of all behavior is habit, choice makes up 5%,” said Nixon. “For instance, we make about 200 uncontrolled and mindless food decisions every day, not aware of what were actually eating or drinking.” By just pausing for a minute, you can become more aware of your thoughts, feelings and body sensations, and therefore free yourself from the habitual automatic reactions. By pausing and focusing on the present moment, your mind can slow down enough to focus, make a decision or respond in a more effective way.

Power of meditation:

“Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness, even for just a few weeks, can bring a variety of physical, psychological, and social benefits,” said Nixon. Other studies have proven benefits to our immune systems, its power to fight depression, and ability to increase our memory and attention skills. Mindfulness meditation has proven to reduce the risk of stress-related issues, chronic pain, high blood pressure, fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches, anxiety and depression, asthma, cancer and heart disease.

Pause, change your life, Come to Hilton Head Health:

A simple pause could make all the difference for your life. Take a minute, refocus your mind and pay attention to the present moment. Hilton Head Health offers multiple programs that encompass this power of meditation and mindfulness through lectures and instructor-lead meditating, and now through the new LifePrime program. The LifePrime program offers guest the opportunity to learn more about mindfulness and meditation and tips to incorporate it into their daily lives. Each day of the program, the guests will participate in LifePrime Rituals. These rituals consist of meditation, leisure walks, brain games, morning/evening stretches, and reflection activities. Take control of your life and live a healthier and longer life. Sign up to come to LifePrime and experience the power of mindfulness today!