In the rush of the world nowadays, embracing mindfulness is extremely important. We have become consumed with external stimuli, things to do, and thoughts that never seem to cease. But what exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of deep, full presence. Being fully present with the here and now, instead of thinking (or in most cases overthinking) about events of the past or possible future. Deep breathing and meditation are two “activities” that cultivate mindfulness. But understand that it is a practice. Meaning, the more you do it, the deeper and easier it gets.
Why is mindfulness important? The practice of mindfulness can help you to feel calmer, more at peace, less frantic. It can also facilitate a state of well being. Take some time this week to practice being mindful. Try to set aside a few minutes a day to practice deep breathing and stillness. If you find your thoughts racing (as they will), don’t fight them. Observe, acknowledge them, and then focus again on your breathing. Deep, focused breathing is often one of the simplest practices if you are just starting to cultivate mindfulness in your life.
You can also try to be more mindful while doing routine activities. For example, while eating, showering, brushing your teeth, etc. While doing those activities, really focus on what you are doing, how it feels, smells, how your body feels, and so on. Usually when we are doing these activities, our minds are racing with other thoughts. The first time I tried this was with eating something. I really focused on what I was eating. How it looked and smelled. How it felt in my mouth and as I swallowed. The sensations may surprise you and the focus on the activity will be a welcomed relief for the mind. Try it!
Here are a few books I recommend that have helped me in my own practice of mindfulness.
1. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
2. Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World