There is something powerful we all have within us, something we can practice any place and any time. It is known to ease anxiety, lighten depression, interrupt impulsiveness, and bring more happiness and peace into our lives. This powerful practice is called Mindfulness. Simply stated, mindfulness can be defined as “Paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn). Although mindfulness has been around for centuries, it has just recently received the attention and accolades it so rightfully deserves.
Mindfulness, being fully present in the moment, takes perseverance and patience as our minds are extremely active with thousands of thoughts each day-thoughts which often keep us stuck in past wounds or consumed with worry and fear of future misgivings. In practicing mindfulness, we allow the incessant flurry of thoughts we have each day to gently pass through our minds rather than try to push them away or control them. With mindfulness we are able to remain more present and calm, helping us to be less impulsive and reactive to whatever stress comes our way.
By staying focused on the present moment we also become more aware and conscious of our own actions and patterns with others. In simply observing, rather than reacting, we are able to have better control over our own behavior which can be transforming in our personal and professional relationships. For parents, learning and utilizing “Mindful Parenting” can help in fostering a more calm, peaceful and positive family environment benefiting both parents and children. Research in mindfulness practice has revealed positive effects on physical and emotional health, in relationships with others, as well as within environments at home, school, and in the workplace. Mindfulness can be practiced informally throughout the day, or in a more disciplined “Mindful Meditation” practice. Either practice can be enlightening, bringing more peace and gratitude into each day. Whether driving to work, eating dinner, cleaning dishes or taking a walk, being grounded in the present moment can help us to be more aware and appreciative in our daily lives.
Below are a few suggestions to guide you in practicing mindfulness:
- Take several long, slow diaphragmatic breaths to help relax your body and calm your mind. When your mind wanders, which it inevitably will, gently pull your attention back to the present.
- Engage your senses to ground you in the present moment. Touch – feel your feet as they touch the ground during a walk, or the warmth of the water as you shower. Sound – hear the bird singing in the distance, or the fan blowing in the room. Sight – observe the colors and texture in a painting, or notice the changing leaves on the trees outside.
- When your mind wanders back to the past or into the future, simply notice this is occurring and kindly bring your attention back to your surroundings and the present moment.
Being mindful takes practice and patience, yet anyone can learn this powerful tool to help calm the mind and find more peace in the present moment.
For more information on the benefits of Mindfulness and Mindfulness Meditation, as well as to view mindfulness apps, please follow the links below:
Let us know how we can help on your journey to being more mindfully aware in the present.