A lot of us have heard every other person talk about Mindfulness when we discuss how difficult our lives are getting each day!
Meditation, spirituality, anti-stress, distraction, relaxation… the list just keeps going on when we try to describe mindfulness. We all assume that this technique is a recent development towards coping with our daily life stresses, but the fact is that this is a very ancient practice that has been a part of the Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Our saints and sages have already practised and experienced these things and also shared it to our ancestors. Let’s learn more about about this long-lost art today!
Mindfulness can mean different things to different people.
However, if it were to be defined simply, it is about being fully aware in the present moment. It means attending to your immediate experience; detaching from your thoughts and feelings.
This phenomenon has become a vital part of any stress-relieving program because it talks about awareness of our inner and outer selves. A major part of our stress comes from the fact that we forget everything else getting so engrossed thinking about things that are the cause of our worry.
The exact opposite of mindfulness, mindlessness is a state of mind where we are sometimes not even actively aware of what we are thinking or doing. We become like a plane running on autopilot mode – just an automatic process that requires no major effort to function. When we get into our autopilot mode, we’re at the mercy of subconscious – doing things that do not require a lot of attention. This makes way for our thoughts, feelings, and actions where they want to go and not necessarily where we want them to go.
While this behavior would work fine for doing all routine stuff, we would miss out on wonderful aspects of life that make it so much more meaningful by being lost in our own world worrying about how doomed we are.
Our lives already have too many stressors in it and the autopilot mode just adds more of it.
Focusing more on the negative inner experience would gradually grow and push us into a vicious cycle of ruminating, over-thinking, exaggerating, fearfully anticipating, and feeling anxiety. In the long run, it might cause mental health issues. We all want to save ourselves from this chaos and need a tool that helps to slow down our thoughts, feelings, and reactions.
This is where mindfulness comes in. The most common examples of mindfulness are children. They are always observing everything around them and trying to learn and experience new things through them.
I’m sure we all memories of those car trips where the kids in the back seat suddenly go “Wow, look at the color of those leaves!” or “Just look at those birds!”
Here are a few basic mindfulness techniques and their benefits.
Meditation: Meditation is one of the most important and integral part of Mindfulness activities. It could be as simple as counting breaths, or just closing our eyes to observe our thoughts but the impact it has towards relieving stress is remarkable. Mindful meditation also focuses on paying attention to a particular image, sensation, or thought that brings us serenity. There are so many more ways of mindfulness meditation that it could become another whole topic of discussion! (Let me know in the comments if you’d like to read about it). These processes are highly effective in bringing calm and quieting our minds.
Breathing and Eating Mindfully: Breathing and eating are two things that we pay the least attention to nowadays given how busy we get a given time. However, it turns out that paying high attention to these activities for a while can drastically reduce our worrisome thoughts. Eating mindfully could be something like taking a piece of an orange (or your favorite food) and trying to observe its shape, size, smell, colors, lines, and then slowly eating to enjoy its taste and texture as it gradually changes. Just think of how much attention you pay while doing this and it will reveal how it can benefit us!
Learning to detach: We all have so many things in our mind that cause restlessness. We always think of getting rid of them but we don’t know how. Despite resolving several times to stay away from that turmoil, time, and gain we get consumed in it. Spending more time to understand what we want to detach from could be helpful. Also, the more we think of “not wanting” to do something triggers the need for us to do it more. Instead, we should try to identify alternative thoughts or activities like thinking of happy memories or indulging in a hobby that is essential to be able to detach from the chaos of the mind.
All said and done, these things might sound boring and routine, and also the initial trials of practicing these things might not be very encouraging. Nonetheless, years of research have shown that these techniques work wonders. Research by Dr. Jon at Centre of Mindfulness in Medicine, Health care, and Society at Massachusetts has proven that mindfulness activities have largely contributed towards healing patients with stress and anxiety disorders.
Practicing mindfulness regularly can make a lot of difference in our life positively!
Do let me know if you could relate to the idea of mindfulness or if you’d like to know more about it in the comments below!!
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Thank you so much for reading through this and I hope this was of some help to you!
I’ll see you all next Sunday with another interesting post!