Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
The buzz word right now is Mindfulness. But it is the perfect word and it is a state that, especially in today’s world, we should be aiming for. It is not hard at all. Mindfulness, very simply, is being aware. Being in the moment and being aware of how you are feeling, what you are doing, what others around you are feeling and doing, and trying not to let distraction taking over.
Mindfulness is almost dreamlike, except it is a real consciousness.
Try these steps for mindfulness
Meditation does not mean sitting cross legged with long flowing hair and wearing psychedelic clothing. Meditation can be done by anyone, from kids to the very aged, at anytime and anywhere. It is about being still and trying to clear your mind. Meditation is about sitting, or lying down, with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath, breathing in and out quietly and deeply and letting your mind be free. It is absolutely fine for your mind to wander that is what our minds do. Slowly, you will find our mind being more and more aware of just your breathing, until everything clears and your mind is free.
It can take time to reach this state and it does not matter how long it takes. You can meditate for a minute a day, half an hour a day, or as often as you want. But practice meditation, you will find how much it calms and relaxes you.
- Be aware
Meditation is practice for awareness. Try and be completely focused on what you are doing, even if it is as mindless as washing the dishes. Focus on the soapy water going over your hands. Same when you are driving. Try not to drive from A to B without thinking. See the roads, see the trees, and be aware of what is going on around you. When you have a conversation with someone, listen. Listen well, clearly and pay attention. You will find that they listen back in return.
- Be accepting
Try and let judgment and dissatisfaction go out of your life. Accept people the way they are. Don’t fight things and don’t fight the way other people do things. Just because you have a way of doing things does not mean it is necessarily the right way. Be accepting and try and let go of any anger. Stop trying to fight things and let them be the way they are. We cannot control everything and the more we accept, the much easier life becomes. People are not always going to be perfect, in the same way we are not always perfect. Let it be.
- Fight bad urges
Watch your urge to look at your phone all the time, flip the TV channels constantly or go on to social media. You can get into bad habits, which may be finishing all the junk food in the cupboard or smoking or drinking. Be conscious of them, be aware of your urges, and let them go. Before you know it you will no longer have them.
- Be okay with sadness
Life cannot be a bowl of roses all the time. Allow yourself to feel. When you are sad, let your feelings of sadness come to the surface. Instead of saying ‘get on with it’ sit down, or lie down, and feel what you need to feel. Then, let it go. It is the same with anger. Feel angry. Feel guilty. Feel cross. But then, breathe in, and consciously, breathe it away.
- Be grateful
This is such an important part of mindfulness. Be grateful and thankful for what you have and for those around you. Constantly acknowledge the things you are grateful for, or the things you should be grateful for. Soon, you really will be grateful. This is on the same level as being aware. Focus on the good and not the bad. Be positive and let go of negativity.
So how do you do all of the above?
You become aware. You do it slowly. Breathe in, every morning. Notice the beautiful morning sky or the color of the flowers. Genuinely, take in the beauty and acknowledge it. Be kind. Greet the man on the corner who sells newspapers. Say hello to the homeless. As you become kinder, people around you become kinder too. Breathe in instead of getting upset about things. Do your bits of meditation every day. Think before you talk and think before you act. Be genuinely interested in people and be genuinely compassionate.
Remember too, the more interested you are in other people, the more interesting you become. Be mindful and watch others around you become mindful too.