Mindfulness is simply a state of being. Many people assume that it requires us to do something, when in fact, it is the art of doing nothing. Nothing but simply being. It is a practice of fully attending to what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. It seems easy but we often stray from this path and become overwhelmed by other complex areas of life, such as work, school, health, relationships, etc. Over time, our mind begins to wander enough that it creates negative scenarios that haunt us. We lose touch with our intuition and body and become fixated on our past experiences and worry about the future.
The good news:
you most likely know how to be mindful, you simply have to remember how to live mindfully.
We can live mindfully through various forms of meditation. Whether it’s while riding the subway, sitting on a comfortable chair, or walking down the street, we can all find our own mindful moments through brief pauses. Through mindful meditation we learn to compassionately understand our inner voice, without judgement, but with warmth and curiosity.
The practice of mindfulness not only helps us get back in touch with our mind and body, it’s been scientifically supported to help with:
Although mindfulness has its benefits, it’s better to focus on the practice. Many people have reported that they were expecting to feel something throughout meditation. This is often because of the same fixation about the future that leads to stress. Again, mindfulness requires that we bring our attention to the moment at hand. So instead of thinking about the benefits of meditation, simply meditate. By letting go of our preoccupations, we slowly become closer to full awareness. Individuals who are able to achieve this report feeling a sense of calm and a significant reduction in anxiety and stress.
Anyone can do it and it does not require too much alteration of our daily activities. Simply find 5-10 minutes in your day where you can take mindful moment. Read more about mindfulness by clicking here to check out our blog.
Try this quick 5-minute exercise:
Find a comfortable chair or cushion, with your back upright but not tense. Lay your hands on your laps in a comfortable position and slowly take a deep breath in and out, noticing the sensation of the breath as you inhale and exhale. Another deep breath in and out. As you continue to breathe normally, bring your awareness to the sensation of breathing. How about the sensation of sitting? If it helps, use phrases to help you maintain awareness, such as “sit and know you’re sitting” or “breath and know you’re breathing.” Does your shoulders elevate up and down? Does your stomach rise and fall? What is that like? You may experience your mind begin to wander or feel a disrupting bodily sensation, it’s alright - take a note of it - and return to the breath. Do this for as little or as long as you’d like, always remembering to return to the breath or the sensation of sitting. For more guided meditation, try meditation apps, such as Headspace, Calm, or 10% Happier.