Life can be very overwhelming sometimes, and as the busyness of life takes over you can lose yourself. We can be functioning on auto-pilot and not truly embracing life and the experiences we get to live on a daily basis. Instead of worrying about the future, or being stuck in the past, rule your mind, let it go and just be; let today sink in. ‘How can I do that,’ you may ask? Mindfulness… practicing mindfulness can change your life, and how you perceive it – and it can also help you enjoy every minute aspect of it.
What does it mean to be mindful?
Being mindful is simply being in the moment, immersing yourself in your everyday comings and goings. Be present and fully aware of your surroundings without allowing yourself to react impulsively or to become overwhelmed. That expression that people say, “I was in my head” is so spot-on for so many. By “being in your head,” you’re not allowing yourself to truly live in the moment and enjoy whatever it brings. Let’s see some ways in which you can practice mindfulness.
1. Step away
Make time to step away for a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle and just sit, and relax. Find a quiet place, get into a comfortable position and breathe. Focus on each breath you take, soak up the smells and sounds around you, feel the wind around you, appreciate them.
2. Manage your thoughts
Release any thought that tries to distract you from that exact moment, if a thought does pop into your head about what work needs to be done or where you need to go next, acknowledge that thought, wave it aside and return your focus on your breathing. Concentrate as you inhale and exhale. Don’t judge yourself for your thoughts. Instead, let them go and be kind to yourself.
3. Try to change your routine
Isn’t it amazing that no matter how much stress you may be experiencing, the moment you go on vacation, you feel energized and revitalized? This is because the mere change of scenery shifts your focus and you start taking in your surroundings and become more present. Simply taking a different route to work, trying out a new restaurant, or even taking a class to learn something new can also have the same effect, as your senses are stimulated in a different way.
Benefits of being mindful
Focusing on the now, on the small things, can have a positive effect on your stress levels by decreasing feelings of anxiety. You will start to appreciate the small moments no matter how insignificant they may seem. You will reach a deeper level of happiness and overall contentment with life. Being mindful has been known to help treat depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and other mental ailments. More practically, by being mindful, not only does your mental state benefit, but your physical body does as well. It can help treat heart disease, reduce chronic pain, lower blood pressure, and improve sleep, as well as improves memory, concentration, and overall performance.
This isn’t something that only some people can achieve. Being mindful is an ability that we all possess naturally. We just need to be more intentional about practicing it. Try not to get so stuck in your head that you’re merely existing and life passes you by without you connecting to the world around you – let’s be more mindful.