How often do you take a moment for be present on a daily basis? Until six weeks ago, being mindful was something I thought I could never achieve. I’m just too busy to live in the present, I told myself. I don’t have time to think in the present because I have too many things to get done, too many worries, too many commitments…
Little did I know that this way of thinking was contributing to my stress, anxiety and affecting my general well-being and happiness.
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
The skeptic in me thought it was a bunch of hocus-pocus and new-age bulls*it (it’s an innate characteristic of mine, I’m working on it!) However, I tried it as I had absolutely nothing to lose, and I was genuinely surprised with how I felt.
In all of our own individual, busy, hectic, stressful, calamitous lives we can feel we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. But we’re only one person. We can only do so much, and we only have one life.
You don’t have to close your eyes or sit cross-legged to try a simple mindfulness meditation. You can do it while running (I have been and it’s helping me improve), you can do it while walking, cooking, or simply sitting at your desk.
Try this time next time you’re walking from the office to your car, the tube station or bus-stop: Don’t turn on your iPod or plug anything into your ears. While you’re walking, notice the sensations in your body and focus on them. Are you tense or sore anywhere? Is your stomach rumbling? Try to focus on the sensations only, and if a thought pops into your mind (e.g. I’m tired or I’m hungry or I hate my commute) simply acknowledge it as a thought and then re-focus on your bodily sensations. After you reach your destination (the car, tube or bus stop) think about how you felt after.
Mindfulness is a practice, and it’s one I definitely recommend. Our minds, just like our bodies, need to be taken care of too. You can read more about mindfulness here.