‘Wherever you are, be there totally’ – Eckhart Tolle
As the name suggests, Mindfulness is a state of being present in the present situation, free from distraction, free from your own thoughts of the past and the worries of the future. Just being there in that moment with an active state of mind, get a feel of what’s happening with you and around without judging it with good or bad (that sounds easier than done).
Big question here is ‘how to be Mindful all the time’ and the simple answer to it is just by remembering to do it. Mindfulness is so basic and natural and we already possess it, but us being so engrossed in the drama and distress that surround us, making us more stressed, anxious and hyper-reactive, don’t realize its significance.
Although it’s an old practice and has its roots in Buddhist meditation but is gaining lot of importance these days, creeping up just like any other fad. May be this is the need of the hour.
With many roles to take on, and to keep up the pace with today’s busy modern life, we forget about the connection between our mind and body, keeping them both healthy eventually takes us to the overall well being and enables to lead a joyful life, which is the missing link here, we being totally ignorant of the significance of mental and emotional health; operate in a mindless state, working in an automatic zone, wherein the mind loses its connection with the body.
We are engaged in something and totally unaware of now; having wandering thoughts in mind (I guess that happens with everyone). Our belief system, attitudes and feelings can affect the biological functioning of our body, and in turn controls our moods and emotions, having a bad impact on the overall health.
Mind wandering is quite common here with all of us, but to bring your attention back to that moment is how mindfulness is practiced. It’s a skill that can be mastered with regular conscious efforts. And once it is done you will be ecstatic, joyful and the happiest self.
Mindfulness, trying it out for a while can help a lot. No matter how far your thoughts drift away, equip yourself to fetch them back right in that moment and experience the physical and emotional sensations.
Benefits of practicing mindfulness??
It has already been proved that practicing mindfulness on a regular basis has countless benefits. The researchers have proved that it can bring positive changes in overall health by making improvements in physical and psychological symptoms. Let’s talk about the surprising health benefits of practicing mindfulness
- Mindfulness gives happiness and peace of mind
- Mindfulness helps to manage stress and relieves many other associated problems
- Mindfulness enhances the ability to focus and improves brain functions
- Mindfulness helps in weight management
- Mindfulness makes the immune system stronger by improving the quality of sleep and ability to fight off illness
- Mindfulness reduces negative emotions and can control mood swings
- Mindfulness can help to find purpose in life
- Mindfulness increases emotional intelligence by increasing the density of gray matter in the brain, the region that regulates emotions and promotes memory, learning, empathy and compassion
- Mindfulness can lead to overall well being
How to be mindful all the time? – Mindfulness exercises
Although Mindfulness is innate, we can cultivate it through some very simple yet powerful ways. People of all age groups should practice it, be it at work or at home. Kids especially should be advised to practice this amazing self-help tool to make them more resilient and focused in life, and can be one of the best-inherited traits if fostered at home.
One can practice it at any time while doing anything just by being aware of the thoughts and feelings of that moment. Only By Being Here!!
We are discussing here a few ways to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness Guide – Let’s get started…
Mindful Breathing or Mindful meditation-
This is the commonest of all the other mindfulness exercises and can be done pretty much anywhere. You just have to sit down in a comfortable position, with the right posture of spine, and just focus on your breath.
Breathe in through your nose and out from the mouth. Take time to feel the breath effortlessly coming in and out of the body. Start visualizing it, following its way into your nose, coming down and filling up your body with positive energy and life and then bringing your attention back to its way up and out of your mouth, releasing the energy into the world. Continue the process for a few minutes until you are uncomfortable doing this. Gradually you would be able to do it for longer durations and can step into more energy and happiness.
Your attention is inevitably going to leave the sensations of your breath and start wandering with other thoughts. After getting a note of this happening, don’t judge your thoughts and simply bring back your attention to your breath.
Mindful Eating- Enjoy every bit of it
Researchers have proved that mindful eating can help fight eating disorders, food cravings, weight management, reducing stress and anxiety. Eating is probably one of the most pleasurable experiences that we engage in as human beings and doing it mindfully can make it a far more richer experience by not only satisfying the need of nutrition but also makes your mind more aware of the foods to be eaten and in how much quantity.
Today’s fast paced routines forces to eat in a distracted environment without even taking a note of what we are eating and how much do we really need to eat.
For example sitting next to your laptop in office, eating hurriedly along with writing down an email, or eating while watching TV, it kind of becomes a deterrent and doesn’t let your brain communicate with your stomach, passing on signals of fullness, coercing binge eating. The longer indulgence in these behaviors creates problems.
Applying to eating, mindfulness involves eating slowly, chewing thoroughly. Noticing the color, smell, texture and taste of food. Appreciating the food. Noticing the effects food has on your feelings. Making mindful choices, saying no to the items that you don’t feel like eating.
Many schools these days practice mindful eating habits to inculcate it into kids at an early age.
Mindful Appreciation – Mind the not minded
In this exercise, all you have to do is make a list or think about any 5 things that usually go unappreciated. It is also called as practicing gratitude. You can do it at any time of your day usually asked to do in the morning, as your heart fills up with happy feelings that help in keeping a positive state of mind throughout the day.
These five things can be any objects or people, no matter how small they are, give them a careful thought to acknowledge and appreciate their support and contribution in your journey towards achieving the bigger things in life. The super things these objects do to us.
Like for example the comfort of your bed, the electricity at your house, a car that you own, your hands enabling you to be self dependant, your eyes that let you rejoice the beauty, your family that is backing you up in all the odds of life etc. It’s a great way to remind us of the good in our lives.
So, begin your journey today of patience, peace and acceptance leading to a more balanced and happy life. Take out little time to get a moment of serene calmness, to appreciate the good things, breaking the cycle of stress, anxiety and exhaustion, get rejuvenated strength to fight off the daily grind.