What is mindfulness or being mindful?
It is the act of being here, in the present. It is focusing your mind on what you are doing and what is going on around you. You are not thinking of the past or the future.
It is difficult to be in the moment these days. You are thinking of so many things at once as part of the normal routine of our lives. Your mind is going in different directions, pulled by too many stimuli, responsibilities and generally the rush of daily life. The result is that your mind is always in the past or the future, giving you stress and an unnecessarily complicated life.
Being aware of everything, all the time, is impossible and unrealistic. The brain is not capable of handling all the distractions that are present within you and your surroundings. You will be happier and calmer if you remember to take time out to get your mind under control and focus to shut out the distractions that are coming at you in various directions. Being able to view things as they are, not as you think them to be, is the foundation of mindfulness training. Here are examples of mindfulness exercises and mindfulness training that you can practice daily to ease your stress and worries.
Focus on Breathing for One Minute
You can do this exercise wherever you are, whether you are sitting or standing. Concentrate on your breath for a minute. Inhale and exhale slowly, holding your breath for six seconds after you breathe in. Then exhale slowly, releasing the air effortlessly from your lungs.
Simple but powerful, this exercise allows you to get in touch with the beauty of your natural environment, which can easily be overlooked as you rush through your day.
The way to do this is pick a natural organism, such as a flower, an insect, stars or moon, where you are and concentrate on looking at it for a minute or two. Don’t pay attention to anything else. Really look at, like you are seeing it for the very first time. Connect your spirit with the organism’s role and purpose in the world. Just take notice and let yourself be.
Choose music that you have not heard of but curious to find out what it might sound like. Close your eyes and listen – use headphones if you prefer. As you listen, let yourself get lost in the journey of the sound and get into the groove of the music/song without bias as to the genre, lyrics or artist.
If you don’t have a music collection, turn on the radio and search for a song that you like. If you don’t have a radio, simply stop and listen to the sounds around you. Don’t tire your brain thinking of what music or sound it is – just let yourself absorb and experience the sound.
These are just some examples of mindfulness exercises that are intended to centre your mind and bring balance back into your life. Instead of letting your thoughts and feelings run in different directions, you learn to live with total focus and purpose in the moment – not the past or the future.