Everyone Is Talking About Mindfulness… So, What Is It?
In a world dominated by smartphones and other handheld devices, society seems to have developed a need to be constantly entertained. We scroll through social media on the bus, read a book while waiting in line or, if all else fails, pull up a game to pass the time. Our minds are always busy, but what happens when we don’t step back, focus our minds and recharge?
Recharging our minds helps us deal with all of the thoughts, feelings, and events of our lives. Not taking a break and plugging your mind into the present can allow a buildup of stress and anxiety, which lead to bigger problems with things like high blood pressure and depression. Practicing mindfulness is a fantastic way of bringing your focus back to the present and recharging your mind.
Mindfulness is a way of paying special attention to what’s around us. The trick is to notice our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in a way that is open, curious and accepting. Anyone can practice mindfulness, anytime, anywhere. The trick to seeing the effects of living more mindfully is to practice regularly.
The effects of living a more mindful life are unique from person to person, but some of the widespread benefits are
- Lower stress
- Improved physical health
- Improved concentration
- Relief from psychological difficulties
- Greater awareness of the why behind our own feelings and behaviors
- Allows us to be more present in the good times
- Boosts creativity
Ready to jump in? Take a few minutes and follow this basic guide to submerging yourself in the present.
Sit comfortably and focus on your breathing, from there spread your mind out to notice other physical sensations of being in the present moment. Notice your thoughts and feelings. As you’re taking stock of the moment, the trick is to not pass judgment on the physical, emotional or mental aspects. Chances are your mind will wander away from what you’re doing. Don’t criticize yourself when this happens, just bring yourself back to your breathing and start the process of focusing on the present over again.
One of the really cool things about mindfulness techniques is that they can be broken down into short exercises to help you focus and relax in stressful situations. For example, if you’re in a meeting and feeling overwhelmed try out one of these mindfulness exercises to help you focus on the present and relax in stressful situations.
- Take a moment and notice three points where your body makes contact with itself or the world around you.
- Breathe in for a count of seven, then breathe out for a count of eleven. Repeat.
- See if you can find the space of stillness between breathing in and out. Focus your attention there for the next few breaths.
- Take a deep breath in. Imagine the air going all the way down to your feet and notice the sensations of your feet against the floor. Repeat.
- Take a moment and think of a kind wish for… Someone you care about, yourself, someone you really don’t know, and someone who bothers you.
Even taking one minute to focus on the present moment can help to recharge your mind and clear away the chatter that is stress over the future or regrets over the past. So, next time you find yourself reaching for your phone for a bit of entertainment, try immersing yourself in the present instead.
And just in case you’re still not sure what mindfulness is and how it can improve your life, try one of our favorite mindfulness apps:
Let us know what you think!