By now you may have heard some buzz about mindfulness that has you wondering what exactly is mindfulness and what purpose does being mindful have in my life. Mindfulness is being in the present moment. In a world that values multi-tasking and promotes fast paced growth, it is very difficult to slow down and appreciate the moment you are in without thinking about what comes next. Some of the benefits of being mindful include increasing your attention span, reducing stress, and helping you enjoy the world around you. The ultimate benefit of being mindful is happiness. Happiness with ourselves, happiness with others, gratitude and living a fulfilled life are all attainable through practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness isn’t all about meditation, though many mindfulness practices will include meditation. Meditation, a time set aside to empty your mind of thought and sit quietly, is a good method for setting your attitude towards being mindful. Rather than emptying your mind of thought as you would through meditation, with mindfulness you are giving focus to your thoughts and truly being present in your surroundings. It is easy to let our minds drift. Sometimes we even look forward to our dreamy thoughts as a way to pass time while we’re waiting for an appointment, while we’re driving the same route to work day after day or while we’re sitting in a business meeting that drags on and on. Have you ever arrived home without a single recollection of the commute that took you there? When we become adept at conjuring up a wandering mind as a way to entertain ourselves we miss a tremendous amount of our present life.
You’ve heard me say this before, but it is still true and worth repeating, social media plays an enormous role in our inability to be present in the moment. Slow down. Make your experiences significant. We tend to live one tweet to the next and always rushing to capture that perfect Instagram photo without really taking in the moment we are in. Our own appreciation for the present moment should have more meaning to us than the reactions friends and followers give a social media post about our experiences.
With that said, be patient with yourself. Living a life with intention, a life that is mindful, takes practice. The reason many mindfulness instructors will suggest training your awareness with regular meditation is because it teaches you how to be still. Meditation helps you force anxiety about the future or thoughts that replay past events from your mind. When you first begin to live a life of intention and mindfulness don’t worry if your thoughts wander some. It takes practice. Acknowledge that your thoughts have wandered and bring focus back to the present. Any new routine will take time to develop. Continue to practice. In time, you will find that being present takes no effort at all.
Sending lots of love.