There are numerous benefits for the tools. In particular, I would like to highlight some of the key areas these tools help me:
1. Develop an awareness of myself. The tendency of a mind is to wander so its nature is restless. When we are caught up in the endless chatter of the mind, we usually have very little awareness of what is going on around and even in our bodies. That is not to say that sometimes we do have meaningful thoughts but over 90% of the time, the thoughts are just repetitive and negative (rumination of the past or worrying about future). In mindful practices, we train the restless mind to rest so that we can be present in the moment, focused, alert and relaxed (eventually).
Having awareness is the first step to learning. When we develop awareness in our bodies and carry it through our daily lives, we are able to stop or adjust our activities or postures as and when the discomfort or sensitivity arises so that we do not push our bodies into further damage. This is also a key foundation in the practice of yoga to keep yourself safe in each session. When we have better awareness of arising emotions and thoughts, we can make deliberate choices to witness them and dig deeper into some of the long-standing issues (if need be) or just to watch an urge pass by without the need to do anything about it.
2. Gain a different perspective and understanding of similar situations or events. Most of the time, changing the perspective provides a new insight and perception of the same person, event or situation. It helps us understand ourselves - recognise a certain habitual way of thinking, and ingrained belief systems which may not be true (e.g. I am not good enough). This self understanding provides a basis on how we relate to others. When we have this understanding, it helps to build rapport and better relationships with others.
3. Improve my emotional well being. Mindful practices train ourselves to re-acquaint with our body sensations and notice them as they are without labelling or judging. The same applies for emotions (this is more advanced as it is more challenging). When we can rest our mind in the bodily sensations arising from strong emotions, the mind need not spin story for the false ego or go to the past or worry about the future. Bodily sensations arising with the emotions, when allowed to go through the full development, subsides quickly without being trapped or stuck in the body. This process of allowing the emotions to pass through the body helps it restore balance.
The point here is not to run away or escape or deny or repress or resist those emotions. It is also not to give a label to the emotions or judge myself or others critically in the moment of heat. It is to step into the emotions, embodying whatever signals is flying around in the body and mind, and feel these emotions from a place of self-love rather than self-loathing. It is a constant practice of self-compassion for self-healing. There is no right or wrong emotions in the body. It is the mind that judge and analyse and criticise. It is not helpful when you are trying to find the root cause for that strong emotions to let it pass through or let it deliver the message (to yourself, not acting out or lashing out at others) while remaining neutral so that you will not do anything rush that will harm yourself or others or your relationships. More on it on a separate article on digesting strong and intense emotions and some of my own experiences.
4. Restore balance in my body. The short targeted stretching, relaxation and strengthening exercises help to release stiffness from sedentary lifestyle or prolonged standing or sitting postures. Most of the stretches and exercises can be done on a stable, flat and level stool or chair or on the floor so you can incorporate into your daily routine easily. You can even do them before a meeting to stay focused and fresh throughout the day.
5. Nourish my physical and mental wellness. Besides the movement and stillness of the body (and mind), nourishment also come from the air, water and food that we consume. The breathing exercises help to invigorate or calm the body and mind depending on whether you are preparing to do a presentation or for sleep. Explore the different breathing techniques to feel how your body and mind responds to the increased oxygen. I will also share different recipes that bring nourishment to the changing body needs under "My hobbies". Some easy to prepare and quick cooking tips will also be shared. The essence is to use food as medicine. Some tried and tested know-how can also be found there.
6. Nourish my spiritual wellness. Mindful practices are just practices. When you are able to incorporate this presence in the moment from such practices, that is living. For example, when you are listening to someone, are you waiting for the pause to say something or are you just listening to gain a better insight and understanding or that person, to connect? When you are walking in the park, are you thinking about your day or planning for the future? Do you notice the sights, smell, sounds, sensations on your skin, and even the taste in the air?
When you can connect fully in the moment, things are allowed to flow and unfold. This is not a passive process. Instead, it is highly engaging and you are fully living and alive in the moment.
Please read how to use these tools here.