We hear this term a lot today: mindful. What, exactly, does that mean? How do we actually become “mindful?”
The official definition according to a Google search:
1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
The goal of mindfulness is to be fully present and aware in the moment. With what you are doing, where you are and who you are with. It also allows you to not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by your current situation.
Mindfulness is an innate quality every human being is born with. It’s whether or not we cultivate this ability that equates the beneficial aspect of it.
How to cultivate mindfulness:
Seated, walking, standing or moving meditation.
Short mindfulness pauses throughout your day (see below).
Meditation practices combined with activities such as yoga, running or bicycling.
Mindfulness begins with simply becoming aware of your body. It’s about taking the time to pay attention to your physical and emotional feelings. It’s not about clearing your mind or judging your thoughts.
A mindfulness meditation will allow you to suspend judgment of yourself and others and approach all things with kindness and understanding.
Mindfulness is not about changing who you are. It’s about fully becoming more of who you really are. Which is fabulous, by the way.
Cultivating a healthy mind is the first step in cultivating a healthy life.
A 2-minute mindfulness practice you can do anywhere, anytime.
1. Get seated and comfortable. Begin by taking 3-5 deep, cleansing breaths. Gently close your eyes (this is actually not necessary but it is helpful for body awareness). Scan for any tension (shoulders, jaw etc.) and allow that to release.
2. Now explore! How do you feel? What’s your body telling you about this moment? Stay focused on your breath, allowing thoughts to float in and out. Acknowledge them and send them on their way without judgment. Mindfulness is not about emptying your mind but rather about learning to let thoughts flow in and out without grasping on to them and misdirecting your attention. Keep focusing on your breath.
3. Gently open your eyes and evaluate how you feel. Notice the objects around you and the sounds in your environment.
Try to take a mindfulness pause 2-3 times a day for a week. Note how you feel at the end of the week. It works. It really does!