We live in a time when there is a lot of pressure to be “busy”. Busy working, socializing and creating a “comfortable” life. We are always planning for the future, looking forward to tomorrow, thinking about where we want to be, should be, need to be. And when we get there, it’s often still not enough. We juggle careers, families, partners. We are constantly showing up for others often putting them before ourselves. We are lucky to eat well, let alone food prep and if we don’t get up at 6am to workout, or don’t get home until 9pm, we struggle to find another hour in our day to dedicate to ourselves. In a world that looks like this, how on earth do we find the time or the space to live mindfully? Mindfulness isn’t just about the thoughts we think. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing. It’s a practice not a process and it is definitely something we don’t practice enough of.
Everywhere you go, you are here.
Mindfulness works, in part, by helping people to accept their experiences—including painful emotions—rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance. So what if instead of running away, we showed up instead?
Mindfulness is not a special thing we do.
Everyone has the capacity to be fully present already, and it doesn’t require us to change who we are. But it does take time to cultivate by simple practices that will not only benefit ourselves, but our loved ones, our friends and neighbors, the people we work with and everyone we engage with.
Mindfulness improves our over all well-being.
Being mindful means you enjoy life now.
“The only thing we know that is guaranteed for sure, is right now” – Oprah.
When we focus on here and now, we are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, we worry less about concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.
Mindfulness improves physical health.
You can’t out train a bad mind. The body won’t be able to maintain sustainable results. Mindfulness can help relieve stress, lower blood pressure and improve sleep. Sleep is restorative, and when we have enough sleep, we don’t over-eat for energy.
Mindfulness can also improve mental health.
So how do we practice mindfulness?
Well the good news is we don’t have to change to begin. We all have the ability to live a fully present life and it can be as simple as starting with the awareness of distraction. “No-Go” zones for the phone. Choose to leave the phone in your bag when you are with others, in meetings, family time, dinner/lunch, etc. This could be a good place to start. But for those looking to dive in a little deeper….
Take a Break and Meditate.
Mediation is any form of mindful technique. The practice of bringing the mind into the present state. Paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. Allowing them to come and go without attachment.
There are many forms of meditation and you can choose how far you want to dive in. But taking time in your day to sit in stillness, focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently, allowing your thoughts to come and go without judgment will over time help you become more aware that you can control the thoughts you think and the emotions you feel and live a more peaceful life.
You can spend one minute, one hour or one day on it. Checking in instead of checking out. That’s the practice. And it’s life long. We won’t master it ever because life is a journey of love and lessons that are continuously challenging us to change us. But when we are living more fully present we can learn to better appreciate love, trust in lessons and let go of pain.
Guided Meditations can be sourced on Youtube and Podcasts. Recommended Podcasts include Hay House Meditations and Abraham Hicks. Book recommendations include The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. For those of you with children, .b is a great way to inform your kiddos about mindfulness. And lastly, for those of you expecting children, we can also recommend the app Mind The Bump.