Light takes only 8.3 minutes to travel a distance of 150.24 million kilometers from Sun to Earth. Yet there is one thing that supersedes the speed of light.
It is the human mind.
The human mind has capacity to travel to multiple places in a fraction of a second. Not only can it travel to multiple places at the same time, but also through different time zones.
For instance, at this very moment, the mind might be reveling from the past, and just a moment later it might get anxious about the future.
No matter how incredible it feels to know the power, potential, and speed of our mind, the harsh reality is that this tendency of the mind to create so much of random thoughts at once is not its merit.
Rather it is detrimental for mental health which further impacts our overall health and well-being at large.
The truth is that the above attributes of the mind are symptoms of being diseased.
That’s why our mind requires immediate attention and healing. And practicing mindfulness is one of the best ways to cure a diseased mind.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness, as the word suggests, refers to being attentive.
It simply means making your mind to be present at the place and time where your body is.
We are aware that our mind and body cannot stay together at any place all the time that we did in schooling where we were required to sit attentively. Sit we did.
But being attentive was something that was beyond us as long as the session was truly compelling enough to keep our mind engaged. We have experienced our mind drifting to a whole new place and time when our bodies were stationed inside the classroom.
Practicing mindfulness is all about learning the art of training our minds to be present and attentive in one place. It is wake up to realization.
Just like the drifting tendency of the mind, mindfulness is also a very natural and intrinsic trait of human mind.
After all, our mind feels good when it takes its flights of fantasy. It feels good when we take out our frustration without anybody knowing it. It feels good to dream big and the top of the world.
Yes. Initially, all these feel good. But gradually it starts to cloud and turn our own mind against us.
If we practice mindfulness, we gradually begin to understand that thought, no matter how big or small, are of no good as long as they are being consciously created.
Here, we will understand some of the ways to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives.
Why Should I Practice Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is practiced and taught all across the world by Psychiatrists and meditation teachers to cure depression, anxiety, insomnia, and several other physical and mental disorders.
The crux of the matter is to get the mind into a mode where it is not disturbed or tortured by any kind of intense emotion, anxiety, or judgments.
The whole purpose of being present at the moment is to stop our mind from dwelling in the past or being anxious about the future.
That is how the mind learns to wake up to things that are alive and real. That is possible when our mind is less clouded with useless thought and there is more room for being more productive and creative.
- Practicing mindfulness helps the mind to let go of the hurtful memories and be forgiving. Thereby, it establishes a fine emotional equilibrium.
- It enhances our capacity to concentrate which further results in a more organized, efficient, and speed of work.
- It renders clarity of mind which helps us to make better decisions.
- Practicing mindfulness is the best way to curb anger.
- When we have a better command of our emotions and temperament, we can deal with people around us in a better fashion which eventually translates into better relationships.
5 Simple Ways To Be Mindful
There are two focus areas that we need to understand when it comes to mindfulness. They are –
- Being present at the moment
- Being non-judgmental
No matter how heavy or enigmatic it sounds, mindfulness is quite simple and relaxing once you learn how to do. The best part is that mindfulness can be practiced at any time of the day and for as long as you feel comfortable doing it.
How do you feel when you wake up in the morning from a deep slumber?
After a good night’s sleep, your body feels relaxed and energized; and your mind is blank. There is no thought, no stress, and no emotional upheaval at the moment.
As you sit up on your bed, just close your eyes and observe yourself. Relax your whole body.
Take a few deep breaths and watch your breath. Just stay there, doing nothing, thinking nothing, planning nothing, contemplating nothing.
Just be aware and rest your mind for as long as you can. The duration could be as short as just a few seconds to a couple of minutes.
Chances are that a passing thought comes and interrupts your restfulness. Let it come. Watch the thought. Don’t struggle to hold on to the state of mindfulness. Just let go if your mind gets engaged with the thought.
Be gentle with your mind. After a while tenderly cajole your mind back to the state of mindfulness.
Enjoy and relish the state. Try to be alive to the calmness and peace of this short stretch of bliss that your mind has been through.
This blissful feeling is the only incentive for the mind to come back to the state of mindfulness over and over again.
Yet another uninterrupted time is when you take a shower. Again, it is a wonderful time to practice mindfulness. This is the time when you can engage your sense organs.
Focus on how it feels when the water runs through your body. Focus on the sound of the cascading water, the taste of the water when it enter your mouth, the smell of the body shampoo as you lather it up to your body.
For the entire five to ten minutes of the time that you spend under the shower, just be aware and mindful of the look, feel, taste, and smell of everything that surrounds you at the moment.
At this moment, do not being judgmental about your skin color, body weight, and the laugh lines beside your lips. Just be aware of what is happening right now.
That’s all about being mindful.
Look at the things around you without being judgmental about them. Use your vision while resting your mind.
One of the most tried and tested ways to draw attention towards yourself is done through the Body Scan meditation.
It is a guided meditation that starts with a slow and rhythmic deep breathing followed by the mind moving through each part of the body starting from the toe and slowly moving to the head.
Stopping at every point of your body, feeling and reaching deep inside the skin, to the bones and muscles; giving it a healing touch through your mind and releasing any kind of tension that might have built up at any point.
Self Love and Acceptance
Make a list of five things that make you feel good.
Show affection to yourself by giving yourself a warm hug. Bring your awareness to particular those emotions that are painful.
Watch those feelings without being engaged with them and tell yourself – ‘It’s okay to feel bad when the time is difficult. Pain and sufferings are part of life. But I am stronger than that.’
Such self-affirmations can do wonders for our ailing minds.
In the same manner, practicing mindfulness can help to deal with anger, anxiety, and addiction as well.
The moments of distress can be recreated in the mind consciously and then treated with love and tenderness. Then you finally just let them go.
The crux of the matter
The best part about practicing mindfulness is that there is no restriction or specific to-do process in this.
You may or may not choose to sit in one place and close your eyes. You can practice mindfulness while performing all your daily tasks for example at the time of your morning workout, driving or walking to your office, waiting in a traffic jam, while you sip your green tea or coffee, at the time of taking your meal and also before you fall asleep.
Q: To practice, mindfulness do I have to go for guided meditation?
Not necessarily. For observation meditation, five senses exercise or mindful breathing, seeing and hearing, is enough to awareness. Having a guided meditation only helps beginners to experience the effects of meditation and eventually get initiated into the process.
Q: How often should I practice mindfulness?
It can be practiced throughout the day, as many times as you want. Only for specific meditations such as Body Scan or Anger/Anxiety/Addiction Management, it is better to opt for a guided meditation. Hence, in such cases, a specific place and time should be fixed.
Q: What if my mind starts to drift?
Just allow it to drift. Practicing mindfulness does not mean putting your mind inside a cage and blocking all kinds of thoughts. It is the natural inclination of the mind to wander. Allow it to do so for a moment and then gently cajole it back to the mindful state after a while.
Q: How to stop the negative thoughts after I started practicing mindfulness?
It is normal to have negative thoughts and feel low at the initial stage. Maybe the mind is going through a catharsis.
As much as possible, just watch them. Do not get involved with them.
Throughout our lives, we have never stopped our minds from brooding and abusing itself with anger, humiliation, and harboring every kind of negative feelings.
This is the first time we are trying to put a balm on it. The mind will take its own time to let go of the pain before it learns to trust the new procedure.
Just hang in there. You have come a long way.Your mind will surely start enjoying it and feel grateful for choosing this path.
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