Mindfulness is a pretty big buzz word right now. Everyone from your yoga instructor to corporate coaches are talking about it as a big change to how we live our daily life.
But what is mindfulness, where did it come from, and how can it help you change your life?
The Basics of Mindfulness
Mindfulness practice is about living in the moment. The main goal of mindfulness is to stay in the present moment, without judgment or fear, and not leave that moment. Sounds like living right? Not quite.
Mindfulness is more than just being physically in the moment, but it is about being mentally in the moment.
Without judgment or negative feelings on the actions of yourself or others, and without thinking to the future or the past, being actually in the moment is hard.
We all have a million things going on in our mind at any given time, and mindfulness’s purpose is to clear out all the junk and let you experience the now.
Mindfulness is steeped in Eastern religions, most heavily Buddhism. The Buddha taught that mindfulness was the key to spiritual awakening.
But don’t worry, this article isn’t about religion, and neither is mindfulness really.
At the core of this practice, it is a secular belief about living a different way of life, and you don’t have to believe in any religion to see the amazing benefits it can bring you.
How Can Mindfulness Benefit Me?
In the way we live our lives today, we are always going. Our focus is only half on what we are doing right now, and instead the rest of our mind is focused on either the future or the past. We rarely experience events to their fullest extent.
Practicing mindfulness, and being more aware, has many health benefits for your life.
It can help decrease your daily stress, increase your ability to relax and appreciate the moment, help anxiety and depression symptoms from taking over your life, increase your capacity for compassion, and some people even think it will help your immune system.
That last one is questionable, but the rest are real benefits you can see by being more mindful in your daily life.
Okay. So How?
Many people recommend meditation for mindfulness training, and it can be great. The best way you can try to be more mindful in your life is by meditating. Start small, with 5 minutes every morning or evening, and increase your time.
There are hundreds of guided meditations online if you want some help at first putting yourself in the right frame of mind.
Ultimately, it is about changing your mentality. Try every moment to be completely present. You are more than your thoughts and you can control them.
Experience your day without judgment, and if you see yourself drifting away, consciously return your focus to the day. Sometimes this is exhausting, so start small.
Instead of half paying attention to your phone and half paying attention to your kids tonight, engage them and give them your full focus. Put the phone down, turn the TV off, and set your sights on a book you have been meaning to read.
Anytime you feel your mind drifting off the page and onto your tasks for tomorrow or the events of the day, pull yourself back to the present.
The longer you spend consciously moving your mind to the very moment it is in, the easier it will become.
Many people report amazing psychological changes when they have implemented mindfulness in their daily lives, and it doesn’t cost a thing to try!