Have you ever driven to work and had no idea how you got there? Ever eaten a whole bag of chips or cookies only to find the bag gone and have no idea where they went? We often go about our daily lives on autopilot, not paying attention to our thoughts, feelings and sensations. We are not living in the moment…not being mindful.
What is mindfulness?Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your body, mind and feelings in the present moment. Jon Kabat Zinn defines mindfulness as: “Paying attention; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness in our daily lives can help improve physical health in a number of ways as well as decreased stress, anxiety and enhanced mental health and functioning. >Becoming more mindful is a practice that will train your brain to become more efficient with less distractability and improved focus.
What are the basics?According to Mindful.org, here are the basics of mindfulness practice:
Although we all have busy lives, devoting some time each day, even if it is a few minutes, will not only help calm our busy minds, but may relieve some daily stress.
Set aside some time
This may be difficult at first as our minds typically want to think about the past or future. The goal is to be in the present. The here and now.
Observe the present moment as it is
It’s not always easy to allow judgements to just pass. Many times we like to analyze our thoughts. But the idea here is to not focus on it. Let your thoughts simply pass as easy as they came on.
Let the judgements roll by
Our minds are very busy rehashing our day and planning for tomorrow. The idea again, is to gently bring yourself back to the present.
Return to observing the present moment as is
Being mindful may be a new practice and may take some time to settle our wandering minds. Allow yourself to gently redirect your wandering mind to the present.
Be kind to your wandering mind