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Part One: What is mindfulness?

How wonderful to sight a Baltimore Oriole!
How wonderful to sight a Baltimore Oriole!
Henry McLin on Flickr

Holistic psychology is an integrative approach to healing. Mindfulness is one aspect of holistic psychology which helps manage stress and a tool to live a more peaceful life.

It sounds like a tough concept, but it’s actually very simple. Mindfulness is simply achieving a heightened awareness of all of everyday experience by intensely focusing your attention on your present reality. Cultures have used mindfulness as a healing technique for hundreds of years, and it’s a valuable tool for new mothers. People all across the globe are incorporating mindfulness into their lives today as scientific research confirms what ancient civilizations always believed: that positive intention and mindfulness makes a profound difference in how a person feels on a daily basis.

Modern medical and scientific research has revealed some amazing things about mindfulness: not only can it ease some of your stress on a daily basis, it reduces severe anxiety and depression. New research has even shown that mindfulness and positive intention can help your body heal faster from physical conditions or illnesses.

As you transition into motherhood, mindfulness can (and should) play an even bigger role than ever before. Everyone struggles with self-doubt and negative emotions like stress and anxiety, but the big transitions in your life that occur as you become a mother can magnify all of those issues. Don’t judge yourself- everyone experiences these emotions! Instead, work on developing mindfulness as a tool that can make your life easier and take some of the fear out of dealing with negative emotions and stressors.

Mindfulness, when practiced properly, can reduce the hormones that cause stress- that has a whole host of health benefits that new mothers are dying for. Better sleep, healthier eating habits and help with managing substance issues are all positive side effects of mindfulness. Even relying on substances that aren’t illegal, like caffeine or alcohol, can decrease as you practice mindfulness and become more in tune with yourself.

Living fully in the present moment without judging yourself or others is one of the healthiest lifestyle choices you can make, and it’s also one of the most effective lifestyle changes you can make as you become a mother.

Don’t worry that you won’t be able to achieve mindfulness; it’s something that we’re all capable of with the right assistance from those around us!

Instead of judging negative emotions or immediately reacting to them, observe them calmly and with compassion. That small behavioral change can make you a much better communicator with yourself and those around you.

For an exercise in mindbody medicine and more on mindfulness, visit the BirthTouch blog.

Stay tuned for Part Two, about the research behind mindfulness and Part Three, a mindfulness exercise.

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