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The Journal magazines are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Dec 31, 2021

Mindfully Planning Your Special Day

By Lori Draz

Planning a wedding or any special event like a family or business party is undeniably full of stress. You worry about so many details – the decorations, invitations, menu, entertainment, wardrobe, seating arrangements and so on. Even though it’s a joyous occasion, it’s understandable that you can become overwhelmed. So perhaps now is the time to take a deep breath, focus and practice a little mindfulness. 

Simply stated, mindfulness is being fully present in the moment, without overreacting or projecting into the future. Anyone can be mindful, but it’s up to you to bring yourself back to center when you’re confronted with triggers that confuse, raise anxiety or otherwise disturb your inner calm and sense of grounding.  

According to mindful.org, being mindful reduces anxiety, anger and depression, enhances performance, and allows you to gain insight and awareness through observing your mind. Mindfulness can be cultivated through proven techniques including seated, walking, standing and moving meditation.  

Incorporating mindfulness and meditation can benefit just about anyone. Mindful.org continues with these two studies on its effects on students. One eight-week MIT study on sixth graders, published in “Behavioral Neuroscience,” showed that mindfulness training may alter brain functioning linked to emotional processing, allowing students to cope with stress, negative moods and unhealthy attitudes.

For the second study, published in “Mind, Brain, and Education,” researchers administered a mindfulness questionnaire to a diverse sample of more than 2,300 fifth- to eighth-grade students in Boston. They found that “higher mindfulness scores were linked to a higher grade point average, greater achievement in standardized math and literacy tests and better academic performance overall. Mindfulness was also tied to better school attendance, fewer suspensions and enhanced academic performance.”

OxfordMindfulness.org reports it’s equally effective in the workplace. It is linked to higher job performance which increases positivity, which then increases productivity by as much as 20 percent. Workers who feel gratification reported fewer sick days and more effective work styles.

Mindfulness is also gaining use in medicine in therapies for pain management, depression, anxiety, and behavioral and eating disorders. Medimorphosis Physician Assisted Weight Loss in Shrewsbury has successfully been using mindfulness techniques for years. They share, “Mindful eating cultivates awareness and a more balanced, positive relationship to weight and food. Mindful eating uses a specific set of tools. The most basic is using the five senses to experience eating in a more joyful way. First, examine the food like it is the first time ever seeing it. Touch it, feel it, smell it and place it in the mouth. Closing the eyes can help you fully experience of the flavor, the temperature and the texture while chewing. Then reflecting on the encounter before the next bite can add enrichment as well. By eating in this way, more pleasure can be extracted from food with a significantly reduced quantity leading to improved health, better digestion, increased overall sense of well-being and possible weight loss. Other tools include a pre-meal mini-meditation, using hunger and fullness scales and even mindful movement practices.”

You can see mindfulness meditation can play a big part in better handling a variety of situations and doing it is not difficult. 

Begin simply by sitting on a stable, solid seat, anywhere from a desk to a park bench. Place both feet on the floor and straighten, not stiffen your upper body. Let your hands drop onto your legs, lower your chin, and spend a few minutes feeling your breath and letting your mind go. 

If your mind wanders, and it will, don’t feel bad; just regroup. You will learn to observe wandering thoughts rather than getting involved with them.  

The WeddingBee.com recommends downloading a meditation app such as Headspace, The Mindfulness App, Calm and Insight Timer or referencing a big selection of YouTube tutorials available in every length and style.

You may also try concentration meditation where you focus on a single point while perhaps repeating an affirmation or mantra. This technique is meant to improve concentration and relieve stress. 

Spending even five minutes a day will help you get through the wedding jitters and be a foundation for a greater and more stress-free live ahead.