Many people have heard of mindfulness, but aren’t sure what it is or how it can help them. Here are a few useful facts to consider when thinking about adding a mindfulness practice to your daily life.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a type of meditation practice that has been used for thousands of years in order to focus the mind and improve concentration. It has the added benefit of making you more calm and relaxed, and can help you enjoy yourself more.
What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
To meditate means to think. Mindfulness meditations make you think in a certain way. The way you think depends on whether you are focusing on your internal experience or your external experience. In general, both forms can be described as focusing on trying to live in the present.
The Importance of Living in the Present
Living in the present is important because a lot of people are so busy that they are really going through the motions during their day as if they were on autopilot. Mindfulness forces you to focus and to pay attention to what you are thinking and doing. It can also help you enjoy life more, so it is not racing past and passing you by.
Life passes a lot of people by, because they are not really living in the present. They are dwelling on things that happened in the past or worrying about the future. But the fact is, you can’t change the past. If you carry the baggage from it all the time, your hands will be too full to embrace new possibilities.
And if you are worried about the future all the time, you will always be stressed and have a hard time relaxing and enjoying yourself. Living in the present is much more calming and soothing. It’s a chance to “stop and smell the roses” and really appreciate the simple things in your life.
Doing an Internal Mindfulness Meditation
With an internal meditation, start by calming the mind through focusing on your breath. Count an inhale and exhale as one. Try to count up to 5 without getting distracted by your racing thoughts about things that happened in the past, or your to-do list for the week.
When your mind is a bit calmer, start observing your thoughts as if you were watching TV. Just watch as they float across the sky like a cloud. You don’t have to follow the thought and get caught up in it. There’s no need to relive something embarrassing that happened to you when you were 15. You’re an adult now. Let it float past you.
Sit comfortably with your thoughts, for a few minutes in the morning and evening, not trying to judge good or bad. You should soon find yourself calmer, more relaxed, and less stressed, and better able to concentrate on the things that are really important to you.
Doing an External Mindfulness Meditation
An external mindfulness meditation can be done anywhere, even while moving. Using the five senses as a checklist, live in the moment by noting the sights, sounds, smells and so on around you. For example, if you are walking in the park, what do you see? Take time to look at it and enjoy it.
If you are eating a meal, slow down and really savor every mouthful. Don’t just shovel the food in your mouth while you are watching TV. You will enjoy things more and not sleepwalk through your life, but rather, be able to make the most of it.
Mindfulness meditation can help us all appreciate the present and get the most out of life.
What do you think? Do you have a differing opinion? Share your thoughts in the comments. Let’s chat!