We often get consumed by the hustle and bustle of daily life. We find ourselves going through the motions every day without being too conscious of it. This often leads to feelings of burnout or unfulfillment which is why mindfulness has become such an important art to master.
When people say the word ‘mindfulness’, a variety of thoughts may cross your mind; “has this got to do with spirituality?” “Do I now have to start meditating?” “I really don’t have time to add another task to my day”. And most importantly, “what does mindfulness do and does it work?”
We’re highlighting the importance of mindfulness and showcasing how easy it is to add it to your daily ‘To-Do List”. This blog is going to take you through the journey of mindfulness – from what it is, all the way to how you can practice it.
What is mindfulness?
Simply speaking, mindfulness is being 100% present in every moment.
The Mindful Blog describes it as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us”.
Mindfulness is something innate in us that we are all fully capable of doing but due to our busy lives and the allure of social media, we easily forgot to be present in the moment. This makes mindfulness something we need to practice daily.
If you ever catch yourself really noticing what your senses are experiencing or you’re deeply aware of your emotions and your thoughts, you’re being mindful. The art of mindfulness includes learning breathing methods, using guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind. In the long run, these practices will help calm your mind, body and soul.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
The art of mindfulness is not merely focusing on the benefits of it. The goal is to practice it daily and slowly begin to notice the changes your mind and body will experience.
When we solely focus on the benefits something can have for us, we often forget to completely immerse ourselves in the journey. That being said, there definitely are a variety of benefits to mindfulness.
When you’re mindful, you are able to reduce your stress levels, gain insight and awareness of not only yourself but the world around you and enhance your performance in everyday life. You are able to gain a completely different perspective into your life and the lives of those closest to you. A perspective that is free of judgement, prejudice and full of positivity.
According to the Mayo Clinic, mindful meditations have shown to minimise:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
Mindfulness has also proven to:
- Improve attention
- Decrease burnout
- Improve sleep
- Improve diabetes control
How to practice mindfulness
Now that we’ve explained the beauty mindfulness has to offer, it’s time to dig into how you can practice being mindful every day. There are a variety of simple techniques to use so we’ve listed a few.
1. Pay attention
This sounds slightly obvious, if I’m living and doing tasks then, of course, I’m paying attention.
Well, not necessarily.
Paying attention means more than just being there and doing something. It’s about slowing down and actively noticing the world around you through all 5 of your senses and really thinking about how it makes you feel.
2. Live in the moment
This means putting your phone away and being present. Don’t think about how cool this would look on Instagram and snapping a selfie as a result. Instead, be intentional with what you’re doing. Be open and accepting of all that is around you while being completely aware of your thoughts and feelings.
Living in the moment also means being truly appreciative of what you have and those around you.
Of course, you are going to be battling with fighting off plaguing thoughts that naturally enter your mind. But the trick is to accept and acknowledge those thoughts, and then let them go as you release them.
A good way to look at your thoughts is as though you are sitting on the side of a busy road, watching the cars pass you by. Your thoughts are the cars. And you can either choose to pick a car to travel in – aka – a specific thought – or you can simply sit and watch them go by. This is the practice of peace and being present. It is the art of not allowing your thoughts to control and take over your mind. It is giving you the ability to control which thoughts you focus on and which ones do not deserve your attention.
If you don’t accept yourself, you will feel less inclined to be mindful because mindfulness opens you up to being vulnerable and taking a deeper look into yourself. You need to practice self-love and self-acceptance and truly love yourself like you would a close friend.
4. Focus on your breathing
If you are feeling negative or anxious, you need to take a step back and fully focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath in and close your eyes, focus on your breath as you breathe out and pay attention to how the air moves through your body. Carry on breathing in and out focusing on the feeling of your breath.
There are more advanced ways of practising mindfulness like through meditation where your breathing and your thoughts come together but for now, we’ve left you with the basics to get started.
Some facts about mindfulness
- Mindfulness is not something that’s unfamiliar to you, it’s something we all know how to do. Life just has a way of taking over in some moments.
- You don’t need to change who you are to be mindful but it requires you to use simple practices to open yourself up completely.
- Anyone can do it. From children to the elderly, this is something that is so easy to master and will truly transform your life.
- Mindfulness is something you need to be conscious of as often as possible. You need to train your brain to actively be mindful.
- Being mindful can assist you at your job as well as in your personal life. When you’re mindful, you have a higher chance of being innovative and finding effective solutions to difficult problems.
Take a moment now to truly be mindful. Sit back, breathe in and focus on your senses. In a short amount of time and with practice, you will truly transform your life.