What is Mindfulness?
How can mindfulness benefit your life?
Let’s first understand the opposite, Mindlessness.
Have you ever driven your car to a destination only to realize you can’t recall how you arrived there? Most of us have!
According to research, by psychologists at Harvard University, the average person is on autopilot 47% of the time. This mind-wandering most people perform is a daydreaming state. In this busy hyper-connected world we live in we fail to notice the true meaning of being alive. This mind-wandering is always thinking about the past or the future. Mindlessness makes us susceptible to anxiety, stress, and depression.
A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.
So, what is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the state of being consciously aware, to be aware moment-by-moment of our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. It is the fundamental human ability to be fully present, no matter what we are doing or where we are.
If you take time to realize where your mind is throughout the day, you will realize it’s stuck in the past or future. Our minds are filled with worry and planning, being upset about what happened or didn’t happen. We are blasting through the day, squeezing the present moment to make time someplace else. Day to day we rush to work, school, shopping, eating, and checking our phone. When do you take time to be grateful, be in peace, and be with the present?
Mindfulness is a natural quality we all have. When we practice mindfulness we’re practicing the craft to form space for ourselves. Quieting your loud mind gives you space to think, breathe, and not excessively be overwhelmed by what’s happening.
- Decreased stress
- Enhanced performance
- Gain insight/self-awareness
- Increased attention to others
- Increased clarity and perception
- Lowered anxiety level
Things to keep in mind:
Remember, being mindful is available to you at all times. Your mind is always with you; you just need to choose when to become aware. Start small, for example, take time out of your busy life to find a small area, silence your phone, and just breathe. Focus on your breathing and become aware of it. Breathing deeply and smoothly is an easy, effective way to be more present. Think of it as a quick reset in your day. You will immediately feel calmer and less stressed. Eventually, you will become aware of your thoughts and without any judgment allow them to float, like a cloud out of your mind. Commit to taking time each day to sit and be still. Make it a habit!
Whatever practice you do develop, practice it! Be mindful not mind full.