“If you truly want to change your life, you must first be willing to change your mind” - Donald Altman
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not being reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us. You start to pay attention; notice sounds, sights, and touch....things that make up the “moments” of your day to day life
According to research, we spend almost half (that's right, HALF) of our time letting our thoughts wander from the task at hand. We are literally missing out on half of our lives and sometimes with consequences....our wandering minds can lead to careless mistakes, misplacing objects and ultimately being unproductive.
The gist of mindfulness is “present-moment awareness”..... which sounds easy in theory...but bloody hard in reality. Life in today's society is tricky – we are always on the go and when you throw in deadlines, phones, emails, school pick up/drop off, grocery shopping, what's for dinner, social media, binge watching the latest series on netflix (priorities I know right?) there are so many thoughts going on in our minds.
When you practice mindfulness, you practice returning your thoughts to the current moment...again and again and again with presence and kindness. Practice makes perfect, and when the alternative is walking down the worn out path of distraction and worry..... it's well worth the effort and patience (don't you think?).
Experts also support theories that practicing mindfulness can also lower stress levels, depression, anxiety and also change the way we process distressing situations. Studies have also indicated that mindfulness meditation can lower blood pressure, strengthen your immune system and also improve your quality of sleep (yay).
Last, but not least....mindfulness practice involves being kind and forgiving towards YOURSELF.
So, now that I've (hopefully) persuaded you on the importance of mindfulness, how do you go about “being in the present moment”? Good question!
- Start by bringing your attention to the sensations in your body
- Breathe in deeply through your nose
- Now breathe out through your mouth
- Notice the sensations as you inhale and exhale
- Continue with your current task...slowly and with your full attention
- Activate your senses - notice each sight, touch, and sound
- When you notice your mind wandering, gently bring your attention back to the current moment
By taking a few minutes out of your day to practice mindfulness and concentrate on your breathing, you can actually stop letting life pass you by, and ultimately improve your health and well-being.
Sounds like you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.