This word has recently become quite popular here in the West. But what exactly does it mean?
Mindfulness, by Google's definition, means:
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.
If you observe the chart google provides below these definitions, you can see that the use of the word mindfulness in books has skyrocketed since 1990. This is not something that should go unnoticed. The popularity growth of this concept is incredible, and the effects it has are even more profound.
Very often we find ourselves just sort of drifting through life. Whether it be driving, eating, walking, or any other activity, we are rarely ever truly present. Our minds are always jumping ahead; a stream of thoughts and actions continuously occurring. We hardly ever focus all of our attention on something.
So how can you become more mindful?
The act of being mindful is quite easy, and very satisfying. You simply collect all of your awareness in the current moment. Notice what you are doing. Notice how you are feeling. Notice your breath. Notice details with all five of your senses. And most importantly, be curious, not judgmental of these thoughts. Something I enjoy doing as well is showing gratitude.
For example, when walking, I like to draw my attention down to my feet. I take a step, Thank you. I take another step, Thank you. I thank my feet. They support my entire body. They carry me from place to place. Not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have two completely healthy feet.
Mindfulness is extremely rewarding. Practicing being mindful will have positive benefits on you psychologically, physically, and socially. You will feel more compassion and gratitude for things you once took for granted. Being mindful will also help you feel more connected to yourself, others, and the world.
Being mindful is so simple that you can do it anywhere. Even right now. Go ahead, give it a try!
Close your eyes and place your hand on your belly.
Now take a deep breath in and out through your nose, feeling your stomach expand fully, and then gently deflating.
Do this a couple times. Engage your senses. If your mind starts to wander, simply bring your attention back to your breath and the rise and fall of your stomach.
Open your eyes. How do you feel?
This was just a simple breathing and mindfulness technique, but I bet it made you feel pretty good, huh? Mindfulness is available whenever and wherever you are. This beautiful practice has a variety of ways in which it can be incorporated throughout your day. Bring back serenity to your mind, body, and spirit. Be mindful.
Happy noticing, my friends!
"The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it." -Thich Nhat Hanh.