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Spending more time at home and not knowing when the world will open again has meant that we must live more in the present. However, it’s not always easy to do that. We tend to fill our days with distractions or become so fixated on the past or the future, that we forget to live in the current moment.
Did you notice whether you felt well-rested this morning or if there were any flowers in bloom along the way when you stepped out?
It’s a busy world. You fold the laundry while keeping one eye on the kids and another on the television. You plan your day and eat breakfast, you take work calls as you finish cooking, you talk to your friends as you clean, and then when you take a break you watch a movie while you scroll through your phone.
The tasks that you set out to do may get done, but you may find yourself losing your connection with the present moment—missing out on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. When you do notice something in the present, it is often to judge instantly and react quickly, often working from a faulty or limited perspective that restricts any options or creates more issues. Carving out even just five to fifteen minutes a day to focus on a mindfulness practice can have profound effects.
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention in the present moment to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying heed to thoughts and sensations without judgment. It can help if you are struggling with feelings of stress or anxiety, having trouble concentrating or are experiencing any difficult emotions. It can help to curate more self-compassion because it involves taking the time to relax and get in touch with the inner self.
There is more than one way to practice mindfulness. Although it can take a while to train yourself to be fully mindful, getting started is easy, and mindfulness will come more naturally with consistent practice. The great thing about mindfulness is that you can do it anytime, anywhere.
Pay attention to these points and begin your journey to mindfulness:
Lie on your back comfortably and focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body. Start with your toes and work your way up to your head. Be aware of each sensation of your body.
Take part in a mindful activity that you enjoy and that roots you in the present. This could be through drawing, journaling, practicing yoga, or any other hobby that brings you peace.
You notice external sensations such as sounds, sights, and touch that make up your moment-to-moment experience. Watch what comes and goes in your mind and discover which mental habits produce a feeling of well-being or suffering.
The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: aim to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment.
You don’t need a special cushion or any sort of special equipment to access your mindfulness skills—but you do need to set aside some time and space.
Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts come up. Just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.
Once you establish concentration, you observe the flow of inner thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without judging them as good or bad.
At times, this process may not seem relaxing at all, but over time it provides a key to greater happiness and self-awareness as you become comfortable with a wider and wider range of your experiences.
If you miss your intended time for a relaxing session, you get carried away, or you want to stop for that day. It’s okay, pause and simply start again. Remember to be back the next day.
A lot of apps, courses, videos are present on the web teaching and guiding you on the many ways to be mindful. But it all begins and ends with how much you bring yourself into the process, customize the process, personalize what works for you and do more of it.
Above all, mindfulness practice involves accepting whatever arises in your awareness at each moment. It involves being kind and forgiving toward yourself. By practicing acceptance of your experience during mindfulness, it becomes easier to accept whatever comes your way during the rest of your day.