We live in a busy world. You must have caught yourself doing multiple tasks without realizing it. How many of you have been folding the laundry while talking on the phone, or keeping an eye on your kids at the same time? Or perhaps arranging business meetings on your way to work or picking up morning coffee? In the rush to complete our daily tasks, we sometimes find ourselves losing touch with the present moment, missing out on what we are actually doing or neglecting our feelings. This is why more and more people are turning to mindfulness, as it’s found to be a key element of happiness and the reduction of stress. So, let’s find out what this trend is all about, and why it’s considered beneficial.
With roots from Buddhist traditions, and Tibetan meditation techniques, this term refers to the psychological process of bringing a person’s attention to experiences happening in the present moment. This state of mind can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training. Mindfulness and meditation are reflections of each other. This means that mindfulness supports and enriches meditation and meditation expands and nurtures mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a pretty straightforward word, suggesting that the mind is fully focused on what you are doing, what is happening, to the space a person is moving through. Very often, while physically doing something, our thoughts might sometimes wander. That’s when we lose touch with our body and in no time dive in obsessive thoughts about something that has already happened or thinking about the future. This very often makes us anxious.
So, the ability to be fully present in the moment, completely aware of where we are and what we are doing is what we achieve by focusing on mindfulness.
Mindfulness is not a temporary state of mind that is only present during meditation, rather it is a way of living in which, when we remember, we are able to step back and be in the present moment. You can think of meditation as the training wheels to help you learn mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation helps you become familiar with the here and now and over time it will help you develop the ability to be present throughout the day, every day.
Mindfulness, meditation – these terms might sound exotic and difficult to learn. In fact, the practice of meditation cultivates universal human qualities and along with that doesn’t require that anyone changes their beliefs. It’s easy and literally anyone can benefit from it.
You see, as humans, we already have the capacity to be present in the moment, and it doesn’t require us to change who we really are. The only thing we add to our routine is cultivating these qualities we already have by simple practices that are proven to have a beneficial effect on ourselves.
It brings awareness, makes us care about everything we do and cuts down needless stress. At first, it’s a practice, but as time goes by people realize that it made a positive impact on their lives and eventually became much more than just practice.
Being mindful makes it easier for a person to enjoy the pleasures in life as they occur, which contributes to living a satisfied life. By focusing on the present, people who practice meditation say that they are less preoccupied with worries about being successful and it did wonders for their self-esteem, which made them able to form better relationships with other people. Plus, when you become fully engaged in activities, this develops a greater capacity to deal with complex problems.
You see, nowadays mindfulness is no longer considered a ‘soft skill’ but a crucial piece of the puzzle called health care. How many times have you read or heard that doctors have started to prescribe outdoor play, trips to museums and meditation rather than pills? They are starting to treat pain, anxiety, loneliness and the so-called ‘millennial burnout’ with mindfulness. What’s more, some psychotherapists consider mindfulness as an important element in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorders, eating disorders and even substance abuse.
If the above mentioned benefits weren’t enough, scientists have found out that mindfulness has a very positive impact on a person’s physical health. Practicing meditation techniques can relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and play an important part in treating heart diseases. It can also reduce chronic pain, improve the quality of sleep and even alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.
Just like any other skill we want to acquire, the first step of learning is to start light. This means that you can devote a few minutes to see how it works. It’s very simple and you can do it almost everywhere. However, it’s best if you start at home, as the first thing you need to learn is how to sit for meditation. This is a posture practice that can be used as the beginning stage of meditation or if we need to stabilize ourselves and try to relax before going back and continuing with our busy days.
It can be a chair, a park bench, a meditation cushion or the floor. Find a spot that provides a stable, solid seat.
You can cross them if you are sitting on a cushion or on the floor. If you chose a chair as a place to sit, it’s good if the bottoms of your feet touch the floor.
Straighten your back, but don’t be stiff. You will feel your head and shoulders comfortably resting. Just let them be there.
Then, let them drop on top of your legs. Don’t try too hard – at this moment you are in charge of the strings of your body.
Yes, your eyelids may lower. If you want, you can close your eyes completely but it’s not necessary.
Take your time and relax. Breathe in and out slowly. Bring your attention to your experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment. Be aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.
Now you can get up and go on with your day. Or, if practicing meditation is on your agenda today, you have started on the right foot and can continue.
Now that your posture is all set, you can continue following your breath and let your mind eventually wander. Don’t bother yourself by controlling the content of your thoughts. You can go away, and come back.
That’s it. It’s often said that mindfulness is simple, but don’t underestimate it. The important thing to do is to just keep doing it, as you can only get better and see visible results.
Keep calm and colour unicorns! Many people enjoy colouring as it gives them the needed peace and helps them train their patience. It can be a perfect present for your mindful best friend or loved one too.
A month of mindfulness, why not? What if we say you can enhance creativity, productivity, your peace of mind and reduce stress at the same time? You can now change old habits and replace them with new face of thinking. This jar contains 31 daily tasks, printed on postcard-sized paper. The exercises are made to be easily carried out even on your busiest days. Plus, they are packed in a super cute stylish rustic jar!
What if there was an accessory that could help you regulate breathing in stressful moments, anywhere, anytime? Todd and Vanessa Steinberg actually created this! This small pendant than encourages slow breathing is very practical, and fine looking as well. Even though it might look like a whistle, don’t worry, it won’t make a sound when you exhale through it. You’ll soon find yourself in the middle of a light meditation, it’s great!
A perfect addition to your morning meditation routine. It’s very light and portable, and it can be used anywhere you need it. This oil diffuser is very quiet and it comes in two colours, so you can even choose the one which suits your personal style better.
Aura, Calm and Breethe are just a few of the many mindfulness apps available to download on your phone. They offer meditation techniques, relaxing music and even video lessons on mindful movement and gentle stretching. They are the new ‘must haves’ to help you live an anxiety-free life.
Nowadays people seem to be preoccupied with the tasks that our busy lives bring on a daily basis. More and more people are turning to the mindfulness trend, and as the field of research is growing on this trend, studies have shown that it has a positive impact on our health. Meditation brings benefits to the human brain, body and our relationships in general. When a person is happy and fulfilled, they can only radiate that positive energy around them. So, don’t forget to sometimes stop what you are doing and breathe!