We live in a time where the mind is always working. From being concerned with issues in the workplace, monitoring the kids while folding laundry, and the overstimulation through the widely accessible media, we hardly have a quiet moment to gather our thoughts. Too often do we look past our own feelings and overall wellbeing by dwelling on the past or focusing on the future.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of deliberately focusing your attention on the present moment and letting accepting your past and future thoughts without judgement. I’ve found the practice of mindfulness a key component in maintaining my mental and physical health. It is a form of meditation and can be accomplished in a variety of ways – however like any form of meditation it requires practice.
Why practice mindfulness?
A study found that caught my attention showed that mindfulness meditation boosted immune systems after only 8 weeks of practice. Do you find that dwelling too much on the past or potential future events stresses you out? I know I certainly do. Mindfulness can benefit you by increasing positive emotions as you accept these non-present thoughts and let them pass through your mind. Practicing mindfulness has benefited me by:
- Relieving stress
- Allowing for better body mind connection
- Improving outlook
- Improved focus (work ethic on the task at hand)
How I achieve mindfulness
Mindfulness is very simple to explain but not always easy to achieve. It is literally focusing on being present in the moment. For me it’s not about sitting in a meditation stance and repeating a mantra, but focusing on my thoughts and feelings. Here’s my approach to mindfulness meditation:
- Sit in a quiet room in a comfortable position
- Focus on your breathing
- Notice what you’re sensing at the current moment – sights, sounds, scents
- Realize that you are not controlled by your thoughts and emotions and free yourself from entrapment by your own negative emotions
- Really feel your body, feel how you connect with the ground, how your chest fills up with air, and your body’s physical sensations
I’ve heard others discuss techniques like focusing on each of your body parts, or picking up an everyday item and scrutinizing the details to place you in an ever present mindset. Going back to the mindfulness definition need only to find a method that focuses you on the present moment and alleviates your mind of stress and woe.
How mindful meditation has effected me
At first I thought meditation was a bit silly but it’s now a part of my everyday schedule. Alongside journaling, every morning and evening I take a few moments to sit in a quiet room and run through all of the thoughts in my mind. This is my favorite way to start and end the day as it allows me to prepare myself for the tasks ahead and reflect on how the day went before I sleep. It sets me up for success by clearing my mind of any past issues or future concerns and lets me focus on my work. The evening meditation is equally powerful as I have time to reflect on my day, review the high and low notes, and utilize that information to improve myself internally.
If you struggle with managing stress, negative emotions, and feel like you lose track of time worrying about things out of your control, then I would really suggest trying mindful meditation. It might seem silly in the beginning, but you’ll soon see its merits. Grounding yourself a few times a week can give you a refreshed perspective to your mental state and physical surroundings. I initially performed meditation to destress and organize my thoughts to improve focus. I found that it also developed my body mind connection for sports and weightlifting. Try mindful meditation and you might uncover a connection that benefits you in a unique way.