We live a fast paced life. Weeks rush by, we’re always running from one place to another, always busy and doing a lot of things at the same time. Is that the way to live? Not quite. You’re probably already feeling the toll the stress takes on your life, such as your mental and physical health and the way you relate to others around you. You feel as if your mind is always full – or in some cases overflowed with too much! Truth be told, it is too much. This is not a natural way to live. So how can you cope with it?
How can bringing mindfulness to your life help you get on track and balance a stressful life with a clear and calm mind?
What is mindfulness?
First of all, mindfulness is both a form of meditation as well as a life’s philosophy. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a special way: intentionally, in the present moment and without judgement.” Or as Dr. Vicente Simón, psychiatrist and investigator at the University of Valencia in Spain, described it in his book Learning how to practice Mindfulness (2011), mindfulness is calming your mind in order to see clearly.
Simply put, we define mindfulness as a state of mind where you are focused on the present and that allows you to control your anxiety and expand the horizons of your mind in achieving well-being.
What are the benefits of practicing mindfulness?
- You learn how to focus on what really matters – the present you’re living
- It allows you to enjoy your days by paying close attention to what’s around you
- It helps relieve stress and anxiety
- Ultimately, it relieves your mind of clutter and helps you focus on what’s important and finding solutions
Living in the here and now – what are the upsides?
If your mind is relieved from clutter and your stress levels can be purposely lowered, you can think clearly and at the same time recharge batteries to face your day. Taking some time to meditate on a daily basis is not a waste of time, on the contrary! It takes only 20 to 30 minutes to do and will help you not only stay focused on your tasks but finish them rapidly and with less effort on your behalf.
If you think meditation is not for everyone. Think again. Mindfulness is not only a form of meditation but an attitude towards life. It’s consciously slowing down your mind and your life. What for? To feel happier and more satisfied with your life, to face the daily stress and expand your mind’s horizons. Dr. Vicente Simón describes meditation as “above all, being able to be a good friend to ourselves and learn how to treat us kindly and affectionately. This kind attitude must guide us in the practice of meditation.”
How to get started on mindfulness
A few conditions must be gathered before starting:
- Finding a suitable place
- An opportune timing
- A correct posture
- A timer
Meditation requires some form of silence and calm enough to concentrate. So finding a suitable place as well as moment within your day to do it with time is essential for success. Also keep in mind , meditation requires a correct body posture, whether it’s sitting down on a chair or on the floor, legs crossed of even laid back on your couch (be careful not to fall asleep!). A good posture is important to get in the mood. So sit up with your back straight and your hands on your lap. What do you need a timer for? The timer will allow you to forget about time and fully concentrate on what you’re doing as well as your breathing.
Being a little bit mindful
If you’re thinking being mindful is something hard to achieve, think again. Here are five tips on how to achieve a state of mindfulness – and some peace of mind.
1. Start paying attention to the little things.
This is a simple exercise. You probably go to work every day through the same route, try to spot anything different that catches your attention for a week. Or observe your children at a closer look. Think about it.
2. Practice meditation for 20 minutes of your day.
It’s not that difficult to take 20 minutes of your day to practice simple meditation exercises. And it will help to gain time, instead of wasting it because you’ll feel ready to get back to work! So close your office door, turn of cells and electronics, sit back, close your eyes, clear your head and focus on your breathing. Feeling better?
3. Be thankful.
This is one of my personal favorites. Before going to bed, try to think of all the things you’re grateful or that day – simple things. Make a small list in your head and try to do this for a week. Did you noticed any changes on how that makes you feel? You’ll probably have nicer dreams!
4. Be close to nature.
Appreciating and being close to Nature is a wonderful way to be mindful and if you can add that to some sport and exercise, then you’re right on track. Nature’s outstanding engineering is a smooth and calming way to spend some quality time – enjoying and being in the here and now.
5. Enjoy some alone time.
Enjoying time alone is as important as being able to be around people. We all need some me time once in a while and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
So, after reading this article, is your mind full or are you feeling mindful?