The past year has changed the way we do just about everything. From the way we work to the way we grocery shop, it’s safe to say our stress levels are sky high. And even though the situation is hopefully improving and we can eventually get back to some sort of normalcy, there’s still so many pieces that need to fall into place before we get back to living as we once were. That’s where learning the art of mindfulness and how to be more mindful comes into play.
Being mindful is similar to meditation. It’s about the way to see and interact with the world as a whole and on a daily basis. It’s about learning how to find appreciation in the little things, even when you’re having a bad day. Mindfulness, however, isn’t only about practicing a form of meditation. It’s also about being constantly aware of the world around us and refraining from having extreme reactions to everything. You may not know it, but everybody is born with some form of mindfulness. It’s just that many people haven’t truly tapped into it. But this isn’t something that just happens on its own; you must learn how to use it on your own.
It should go without saying that practicing mindfulness comes with various benefits. The most notable benefit is how it can improve your general well-being as a whole. If our well-being isn’t what it should be, we can find ourselves in constant foul moods and not enjoying even the simplest of pleasures. In worst cases, nihilism may start to take root and we could think that the future holds nothing but despair.
By focusing and learning the ins and outs of mindfulness, however, it can deter you from ever feeling this way. Instead, you’ll be primarily focused on succeeding in life rather than constantly worry about failing. The next benefit mindfulness has in store is helping with a boost in our physical health. Aside from our emotional health, feeling physically run down can cause more damage down the road.
Practicing mindfulness techniques in particular, like yoga and meditation, can help lower blood pressure, eliminate stress, make it easier to sleep, improve cardiovascular health and treat gastrointestinal issues. Some people think that emotional health is no different than our mental health. It’s true that how we feel stems from our mental health, but the issues we experience are different. Being a poor state of mind opens the door to all sorts of destructive behaviors and habits including:
- Substance abuse
- Eating copious amounts of food
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Isolating from friends and family
What’s listed here is just to name a few things that can happen. Mindfulness helps you become more aware of not only the world around you, but yourself as well.
Saying you’re going to live in the moment more is sometimes easier said than done. Even with the best intentions, it’s easy to fall back into old habits and forget how to be present. Being mindful doesn’t mean letting things go or not doing what needs to be done. Deciding to practice this approach takes, well, practice. That means carving out time to do so and also doing it consistently. Just like when you’re trying to slim down, your weight loss efforts won’t work if you only exercise once a week. You need to commit yourself to practicing and also understand that it may not be easy at first.
To get the ball rolling, choose a time when you know you won’t be distracted. It can be early in the morning when you first wake up or in the evening before bed. Although the goal is 20 minutes a day, starting with only few minutes at first is perfectly fine. Slowly build up at your own pace to where you feel comfortable practicing for 20 or 30 minutes. If you have trouble sticking with your routine, you may want to try a commitment device. You can use a paper calendar or a variety of apps that you can download. Both methods can help you stay accountable by reminding you how important being mindfulness and mediating is.
Some people struggle with finding the right place to practice. However, the best place is where you feel comfortable. If you feel more comfortable sitting on cushions than at your kitchen table, it’s okay. Once comfortable, close your eyes and slowly breathe in and out. Focus on how it feels when inhale and exhale. Your goal is to focus on the sensation of breathing, not the pace. By doing so, you’re training your mind to be in the now. If your mind starts to wander and you can’t focus your attention, simply stop the exercise. Especially for beginners, it’s easy to start thinking about all the things you need to do. If this does happen, be gentle with yourself. Life isn’t easy, especially over the last year. Give yourself credit for trying and commit to doing it again.
Once you master the skill of mindfulness, or if you need help doing so, there are a lot of retreats you can go on. These specialized retreats can help you learn even more ways to practice mindfulness. Some people may even feel so inspired that they want to help others learn as well. The cost of becoming a life coach or mindfulness coach varies, so if it’s out of your price range, you may benefit from taking out a personal loan from a private lender to gain all the needed tools for your new lifestyle. When compared to bank rates, the interest rate is usually lower and you may even qualify for more money.
Mindfulness is possible if you don’t let yourself stress over doing it. People tend to overthink being mindful, which makes them think they failed. Even if you struggle at first, don’t give up. Continue practicing as often as possible without feeling like you have to. Over time, you’ll find that it gets easier to practice and your appreciation for thinks you never noticed before will grow as well.