We are talking about a mindful way of living. You can even find mindfulness discussed as a science, which has become a popular way to talk about it these days. It may even sound like a superpower but actually we have always had it with us, inside us – we just need to learn how to access it.
Monks have been using this superpower for thousands of years. But how can it help us in today’s modern world, and in our social and active lives? I think everyone wants to be healthy physically and mentally – mindfulness can help us achieve this. Let’s first talk about what mindfulness means in everyday life.
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of your inner thoughts, feelings, sensations and the surrounding environment, and not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It simply means to live in the moment.
Mindfulness is the ability to experience what is going on, without thinking about what is happening.
Thinking – or mental activity – is not awareness. It is rather a reflection of our assessment, judgment, deliberation, search for motives, determination: why exactly this, and not this, etc., takes place. This is also sometimes called mental awareness or understanding.
Awareness includes action. When you are reflecting on a situation you have to make a choice, but when you are aware of what is going on around and inside you, there is no question about what to choose. You already have your answer and your way.
Awareness means congruence (balance, harmony) between your inner and outer world. The point when there is a congruence between your inner and outer world or as we said before, a congruence between your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and movements. Awareness creates a superpower that can help you choose what you need and to reject what you don’t need; to exclude the choice based on reflection. When you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful.
How to get started?
Try this simple basic technique that will help you in developing mindfulness in your life.
Awareness of the routine
Pay attention to your everyday rituals, during which you are doing one thing but probably thinking about something else. For example, you may be brushing your teeth in the morning. Consider the experience through your feelings. Feel what is the water temperature? What is the flavour of your toothpaste? Feel how comfortable your feet feel on the fluffy bathmat. Listen, what kind of sounds are around you? Are there birds or rain or something else? You can start doing this 3–5 times a day. Slow down, notice, feel the scene at that very moment.
Go back to this moment and then to reality
Do you find that sometimes you are trying to talk to someone in your head to find the better answer or thinking about negative things and what other people might think about you, etc.? You have to understand that this is not real. It is a mix of your memory and imagination. You should stop yourself at this moment, when you feel your brain is going from the real world into the imaginary world, and bring yourself back into the current moment and say: “Ok, I’m right here to make my life better”. Accept yourself.
Identify your emotions
If you feel your thoughts are slowly going into the negative side making you feel discomforted, either physically or mentally (you might feel your hands shaking or sweating or your heart beating faster), you should say “Hello anxiety. I recognize you”. If you are aware and accept the whole palette of your feelings, even negative ones, this will help you to calm down. Otherwise, suppressing emotions only contributes to their growth.
There are many benefits of practicing meditation. The key is to stay present. The most basic practice includes just focusing on your breathing. Set up a timer, find a comfortable quiet place and seat or lie in a comfortable position, then close your eyes. When your thoughts start distracting your concentration, just simply bring yourself back to focus on your breath. You can start from 5 minutes a day and slowly extend the time.
You don’t need to wait for the right moment to feel happy. You have everything to be happy right now. The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of your mental, emotional, and physical processes and to find the feelings of your soul.
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