The life-transforming benefits of mindfulness
Today, we all live a fast-paced life, rushing from one place to another, one task to another, one thing to another, and so on. This hasty lifestyle has introduced a lot of stress in our lives and the year 2020 further added a lot of anxiety to our already stressful lifestyle with the global spread of the pandemic. If life has turned into a challenging affair for you because of the pandemic or any other reasons and you are eager to find peace, hope, bliss, and inner joy again, it’s time for you to embrace mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the art of being absolutely involved with the present moment. Most of us are hardly mindful. We drive, wanting to reach the office in time, work waiting to return back home or get free in the evening, eat dinner while waiting to sleep at night ( all of which exist in the future) and we keep going this way. As a result, we are rarely completely involved and engrossed in whatever we are doing at the moment. With this, we keep missing life in the anticipation of the future.
We rarely enjoy driving because our mind is occupied with the destination, we rarely enjoy working because our mind is occupied with getting free in the evening, we rarely enjoy eating as our mind is occupied with sleep and the things we have to do the next day.
It is not wrong to wait to get free from work in the evening to enjoy with your family but it is important that the future does not get your complete focus. When you are working, just work. It doesn’t mean that you should not think about completing your work on time. You should but don’t just make it your prime focus. Instead, focus on your work so that you can enjoy it, complete it on time, and then later leave for home without any delays. This is the art of mindfulness.
Why should you be mindful?
What happens when you see a breathtaking sunset or a sky full of stars? How do you feel?
Don’t you experience deep inner peace, stillness, and joy? I’m sure your answer is a big yes. Now, let’s try to understand why it happens?
When you look at a breathtaking view, all your attention gets centered on that moment for a brief interval of time. You are no longer occupied with thoughts. There is a brief pause in your thinking during which you are only looking at the picturesque view. This brief pause of absolute attention in the present moment makes you devoid of your worries, concerns, intrusive thoughts and fills you with joy and peace.
Something similar happens to you when you are involved in risky acts like reckless driving, mountain climbing, and skydiving. You are absolutely attentive. You cannot take your attention off from the present moment for if you do, you may lose your life. It is for this absolute attentiveness that most of us engage in such risky acts. They connect us to the joy which resides in our core. We lose this joy when we are busy worrying about the past or the future.
This means that subconsciously, we all love those moments when we are absolutely attentive and free from all sorts of anxiety and stress-building thoughts.
Now, the question is, can you only derive deep bliss and joy by exposing yourself to risks? The answer is a big ‘no’. You can safely bring inner peace, joy, and bliss in your life through mindfulness, which is nothing but the art of being present in the moment. Further, this deep inner peace, bliss, and joy act as a boon for your mental health.
With regular practice of mindfulness, your anxiety levels get considerably reduced. Your stress resilience gets a significant boost and you are less likely to develop mental disorders like depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder which often result from rumination. This has been proven by research. All these mental health benefits of mindfulness make it crucial for you to practice it especially during the challenging times of the pandemic. Once you begin practicing mindfulness, the changes that you’ll observe in yourself will not let you stop practicing it ever.
Apart from these massive mental health benefits, mindfulness is also beneficial for your physical health. According to Harvard Health, mindfulness can reduce blood pressure, keep your heart healthy, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.
Haven’t these immense benefits of mindfulness motivated you to make it a part of your life?
How to practice mindfulness
“Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it.” said Sharon Saltzberg
Believe me, these words by Sharon Saltzberg are absolutely true. It is not difficult to practice mindfulness. You just have to be self-aware. Remembering yourself to focus on the present moment whenever you find yourself thinking about the past or the future unnecessarily. Don’t expect yourself to be perfect. Just remember that it is okay to get caught in the cycle of thinking and every time you remind yourself to be present in the now, you are causing a deep change within yourself. Gradually, as you keep reminding yourself about focusing on the present moment, you’ll find yourself beginning to stay mindful effortlessly.
Although you can practice mindfulness without any special exercises, they can still be helpful for you on your journey of mindfulness. So, we’ll discuss a simple mindfulness exercise soon.
But, before we discuss the exercise, let’s discuss its foundation. Once you know its foundation, you can also create your own mindfulness exercises.
The foundation of mindfulness exercises
You can connect yourself with the present moment through your senses. Whenever you find yourself going around into the past or the future, use your senses to return to the present moment. This works as your senses can function only in the present moment.
Can you see the future with your eyes? Can you listen to something in the future with your ears? Can you feel the physical touch of something from the future? The answer to all these questions is ‘no’.
You can only see, listen and feel in the present moment. So, you can perform simple mindfulness exercises by engaging your senses. For example, when doing the dishes, you can try to feel the temperature of the water, inhale the fragrance of dishwashing soap, feel the touch of the utensils, and so on. These things will keep you rooted in the present moment.
A simple mindfulness exercise
Sit with your eyes closed and listen to the sounds happening around you. There may be the hum of an A.C., the hum of a fan, the buzzing of a bee, a dog barking somewhere, and so on. Continue listening to the sounds for at least 10 minutes. That’s it! As you keep doing this exercise, you’ll slowly learn to be mindful in your life, and don’t forget that you don’t have to limit mindfulness to this exercise, you should try to practice it every time. Believe me, it will transform your life.
Mindfulness is the art of being absolutely present in the now. Being absolutely present in the moment is beneficial for your mental as well as physical health. It relieves anxiety, stress, boosts your heart health, reduces blood pressure, and keeps your gut healthy. So, you should try to practice mindfulness actively. Now, wishing you All the best and a life filled with inner joy, peace, and love.