The Real Meaning Mindfulness
As adults, we are repeatedly told to improve, plan for what’s ahead, and use lessons learned from the past to shape our future. Although thinking about the past and future are healthy and necessary for a well-balanced life, only thinking about the past and future can be anxiety-inducing, especially during complicated or chaotic points in life. Mindfulness is a beautiful way to step out of the chaos and to step into the present.
Mindfulness is being in the present completely and intentionally. It includes thinking about your feelings, thoughts, and desires as they naturally come to you in the present. It merely removes you from the past or the forward way of thinking.
With that being said, mindfulness is not about being in the present all of the time. Our brains are not designed to be actively engaged in the present at every second of the day. If you try this, your mindfulness training won’t last very long because you’ll quickly find it overwhelming and tiresome.
Our brains are fully capable of being in the present. Still, it does not come naturally to many people, especially in the modern-day. This makes mindfulness hard when you are first getting started, but it is not impossible. Mindfulness training is how we strengthen our mindfulness capabilities and brain. With this training, you can train your brain on how to become more and more mindful. The more you practice, the easier it will be, and the more you will benefit from the training.
There are countless ways to train for mindfulness. You can incorporate it into your daily routine or set aside special times of the day to focus purely on mindfulness. Either way, mindfulness training is something that you can individualize to your lifestyle and schedule.
Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness
Mindfulness has become a popular word in the media, and with good reason. As you probably already know, mindfulness comes with several valuable benefits for your entire being. Just like exercise and eating fruits and vegetables improve your health, so too does mindfulness.
In fact, mindfulness is one of the easiest ways to improve both your physical and mental health. It is affordable, always with you, and pinpoints many issues all at the same time. If you want to boost your overall health, mindfulness is a great option. Here are some specific ways that mindfulness benefits you:
- Decreases Stress and Anxiety – Stress and anxiety are often caused when we overthink about the past or future. Impending deadlines, a spouse’s death, and a future visit from your in-laws are all common causes of stress and anxiety. They all involve thinking about the past or future in some way. Mindfulness brings you back to the present, taking you away from any harmful thoughts that cause stress and anxiety. As a result, that mindfulness decreases your stress and anxiety in the present and makes you feel better all around.
- Improves Physical Health – As mindfulness decreases stress and anxiety, it also improves your physical health. Stress and anxiety are two of the most significant contributors to significant health illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, and respiratory illness. When you decrease your stress and anxiety, your chances of developing these other health problems decrease dramatically. Studies also suggest that practicing mindfulness will improve other health conditions, such as blood pressure, chronic pain, insomnia, and gastrointestinal difficulties.
- Sharpens Your Mind – Mindfulness may have the most impressive benefits on your mind. If you practice mindfulness consistently, you can expect to have increased focus and concentration. By nature, it is difficult for us to stay focused on one topic. Mindfulness forces us to resist distractions and learn how to be more focused throughout our lives. This training further sharpens your mind as it helps you follow through with goals. Regardless of whether your goals are health-related or financial, mindfulness helps us keep the benefits for our goals in our mind. This allows us to follow through with and achieve our goals better.
- Makes You More Compassionate – Several studies have also shown that mindfulness improves compassion towards both others and ourselves. Self-compassion is significantly affected by mindfulness. It is so easy to have a harsh self-critic that only focuses on the negatives and failures. Mindfulness encourages us to take a more honest and compassionate look at ourselves in all situations, allowing us to be more compassionate people. The main reason that mindfulness makes us more compassionate is that it encourages us to respond to situations, not react. When we respond, we carefully consider our feelings, the situation, and the feelings of others. This allows us to be more compassionate and realistic about situations we find ourselves in.
- Improves Relationships and Life Satisfaction – Increasing life satisfaction should be everyone’s biggest goal. We only have one life to live, and so we should make the most of it. Even if life seems to be going great, it can always go better, and we can always create a more ideal life for ourselves. Mindfulness is a great way to increase life satisfaction. It increases our well being, allowing us to experience greater life satisfaction. This includes satisfaction at work, home, and in relationships. Though mindfulness will not solve all your problems, it will make you more content and happier with the life you are living. When you practice mindfulness, you can expect your close relationships to improve, motivation for work to increase, and your overall satisfaction to improve.
How to Get Start being Mindful
Although every person is capable of mindfulness, it can be challenging to get started, especially if you’ve never tried it before. Since mindfulness is not something that comes naturally to us, we must work at it and be intentional in our actions. Here’s how to get started with mindfulness training:
- Think About Your Goals for Mindfulness – Depending on where you are in life, you may have different goals for mindfulness. You should understand what your goals are from the beginning to best execute mindfulness training to improve your life. It is important to note that mindfulness should never be to create a blissful life. Challenges and hard times will always be a part of life. There is nothing you can do to change that. You can use mindfulness, however, to respond more healthfully and compassionately when those times arise.
- Brainstorm Ways to Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Daily Routine – As we said previously, there are countless ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life. If you are busy and don’t have that much time to commit to mindfulness, simply think of ways to involve mindfulness into your current routine. For example, you may want to incorporate mindfulness practices into your morning routine. Whether you start the morning by reading a newspaper or sipping on a warm cup of coffee think about how you can be more mindful while preparing for the day. Also, consider the times throughout your day when your brain turns off. This may be when you’re driving to work, waiting in line at a restaurant, or scrolling through Instagram. Instead of using these times to shut off, use them to be present and turn them on. This step is beneficial because it allows you to make the mindful-ness training fun and relevant to your day. It won’t take up extra time, making it perfect for those who have a busy schedule.
- Set a Daily Mindful Practice – It is a great idea to set a daily mindful practice for those with a little bit more time on their hands. Even if you are strapped for time, this is a beneficial and essential aspect of mindfulness training. Begin by selecting a regular time for your practice. If you establish a consistent time for your mindfulness, you are more likely to follow through and practice every day. Simply try to carve out 20 minutes a day. Most people find setting their practice in the morning to be the most beneficial. Although meditating for 20 minutes may seem like a lot, it is the longer practices that really benefit your life. If you are genuinely struggling during the first couple of sessions to practice mindfulness for 20 minutes, start with 5 minutes, and work your way up.
- Doing Your Mindful Practice – After you work through all of the logistics for your mindfulness practice, it is time to get started. Sit down in a comfortable and supported seated position, and make sure that you have good posture. Consider sitting on the floor with your back against a wall to ensure that you are sitting correctly. Gently close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath. Try to imagine what the breath actually feels like going in your nose, down your throat, and out through your mouth. You don’t have to have meditative or deep breathing during this practice. Just breathe normally. Do this for the entirety of your practice.
- Be Prepared for Failure – As humans, we are not perfect. This is especially true when we are learning mindfulness. Anticipate failure as you are trying to become more mindful. Remember that failure is only a step towards improved results. Be kind and compassionate to yourself whenever these times arise. If you find you’re getting distracted during your mindfulness training, that is okay. Simply accept the fact that you’re getting distracted and gently bring yourself back to the present. Your brain will naturally learn how to stay away from distractions the more you work.
Key Mindfulness Tips
Mindfulness is really all about you. You can do your practice into whatever you want, as long as you are intentional, kind, and motivated. Here are some essential tips to help you create a mindfulness training routine that is beneficial for your life needs:
- Get Creative: Doing the same thing over and over again can be tedious and difficult to practice. Get creative by thinking of new ways to stretch your mind and stay motivated in your mindfulness practice.
- Incorporate Your Senses: To get the most out of your mindfulness training, try to incorporate as many senses as possible into your intentionality. Think about your muscles, smell the air, taste the roof of your mouth, and listen to any sounds around you. This will help you to become well balanced and more mindful.
- Be Kind: As we’ve already stated, be kind to yourself. This is a crucial aspect of mindfulness training. If you are not kind, you’ll find it difficult to benefit and excel.
Mindfulness is a great way to rejuvenate your life and focus on what really matters. Although it may be difficult at first, know that you are fully capable of becoming mindful. Try incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine for easy and convenient pick me ups. Additionally, daily mindful practices are a great way to increase your mindfulness and experience its training benefits. Remember to get creative, incorporate your senses, and be kind to yourself whenever getting started with mindfulness.
What are ways your practice being mindful? Comment below and share your ideas.