In our ever-changing, technologically advanced, fast paced world we live in, it is easy to forget to take a moment to pause, reflect and appreciate the extraordinary life we have. We are constantly distracted by our high tech devices, which prevents us from living a life of limitless luxe, which consequently leads to information overload, increased distractibility and low-grade background anxiety as we try to keep on top of things. Our generation lives in state of mental autopilot, allowing negative and unhappy thoughts to dictate and control our lives, without even realising. Many of us need to adapt of lifestyle that allows for mindfulness, which is the art of living in the present moment, rather than the past and future.
“Mindfulness involves intentionally bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment. It can be developed through the practice of meditation, which can be defined as the intentional self-regulation of attention from moment to moment.” Just as our bodies do, the brain needs training in order to function at its best. There is an abundance of benefits that arise from being mindful, such as being healthy, happy and clear-minded are there a many ways in which you can go about it.
Benefits of Mindfulness:
- Improves your well being:
– Increasing your capacity for mindfulness supports many attitudes that contribute to a satisfied life.
– Being mindful makes it easier to savour the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events.
– By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.
- Improves your mental health: depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, couples’ conflicts, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, improves academic performance
- Improve physical health: Help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties
(Read more at helpguide.org)
Just as there are many benefits from being mindful, there are also numerous was you can go about practising it, to help you live your beautiful life.
- Mindful walking: Aligning your walking to the rhythm of your breath, by lifting your foot on your inhale and lowering your foot on the exhale. Not only can you focus on the movement of your body through the connection of your breath and feet, you can also tap into whats around you by simply being aware – whats going on around you? What can you hear, taste, smell? – being truly in the moment. This is a really easy way of practising mindfulness as it can be incorporated into your every day life, so next time you decide to go for a stroll, instead of mulling over your to do list, or thinking about what’s for dinner, be in tune with your body and present within the moment.
- Mindful breathing: Many of us go through life ignoring the natural ebb-and-flow our breath, however when we do acknowledge it, we are able to cultivate a calmness of the mind and be within the present moment. Sitting comfortably, eyes closed or shut, noticing the feelings and sensations that surround you, simply observe the natural flow of your breath. Focus on your inhale and exhale, and if another though pops into your head, simply acknowledge it, then return to the breath. Inhaling through the nose and exhaling out the mouth is a technique some people use to grasp mindful breathing.
- Mindful eating: What we put into our body significantly affects our emotions and well-being, therefore being in tune and aware of the nourishment you are providing your body is essential for being mindful. By doing so, we cultivate a fresh appreciation for food and the environment around us. Ensure you are aware of our eating habits – Do you rush your meals? Do you eat while doing other things? Focus solely on what you are eating in the moment and do not be distracted by other things. Notice the sensation and taste of you meal and acknowledge your responses.
- Mindful attitude: Developing a mindful attitude takes time, as it comes with practise to balance your mind to a point of serenity and awareness. The combination of mindful habits such as walking, eating and listening, provide the basis upon which a truly mindful attitude emerges. The most essential way in which one develops a mindful attitude is to rid your mind of unnecessary judgement, as a true judgement cannot be made unless the mind is clear. Practising the art of being in the present moment of each day takes patience – a patient attitude is a mindful attitude. We must also remove extreme desire from our lives, as it removes us from the present and distracts us from being grateful for what we already have. Not only must we focus less of the future, we must also let go of the past to prevent it from dictating out future.
Mindfulness is sweeping across the globe and training has now been implemented in many different sectors including in schools, hospitals, corporations, and government. It is time to stop and take care of yourself, because you are the most important person in your life. You can implement mindfulness into so many aspects into your life, so give it a try and let me know how it goes!