Why We Need To Be Mindful Every Day
Mindfulness has become this super trendy idea in the past couple of years, and I'm not usually one to let "trendy" transform or impact my daily life. The truth is, I think mindfulness is a practice that everyone should read about and try to incorporate in their day-to-day living. There is a lot of research that has gone into the process of mindful meditation and how it can alleviate stress, reduce suffering, and increase overall health and well-being. I want to be clear and say that I have NOT done extensive research on the subject, and cannot provide you with the answers to all of your questions. What I do know, though, is that by practicing mindfulness on a daily basis (and yes, it does take practice!), I am working towards living a happier and healthier life.
I wrote a post last week about being happy, and I think this one is a nice follow-up. Practicing mindfulness can be a hassle at first, but I am suggesting that you focus on the very basic level of the lifestyle: living in the moment.
It really isn't that complicated. Especially now that we are almost in 2018, we (as a society in general) get so caught up in WORRYING; worrying about the future, worrying about what happened in the past. We get distracted and stressed by all these "worry thoughts" and we are often deprived of what I like to call "present-moment thoughts". What would happen if instead of stressing about the meeting you have at work tomorrow, you focus on how, right now, your morning cup of coffee tastes so delicious? Or, instead of worrying relentlessly about what you said to your boss yesterday, you enjoy the movie you just turned on?
This is not easy to do. Often, worrying comes to us automatically; we don't "ask" ourselves to worry... we just do! So, you have to catch yourself. Catch those automatic thoughts that begin bringing you to an anxiety-filled place. And, in the essence of mindfulness, bring your thoughts back to the present moment.
There's a reason why I am always playing music in my apartment, especially when I am getting ready in the morning. The music keeps my thoughts from moving to a place of worry. I stress less about the day to come, and I worry less about what happened yesterday. I am someone who loves music, so not only does it "pump me up" in the morning, it's therapeutic, as well.
There are moments in my day, too, where I try not to look at the clock. When I'm too focused on what time it is, I lose track of my purpose. What task was I working towards completing? What meaningful insight was I receiving from conversing with a friend or colleague? These moments are all precious and are often lost when we worry. Not only does worry add stress to your life, but it also takes away a lot of what makes life so wonderful. Accomplishment, relationships, joy.
Think about practicing mindfulness a couple times per week, to start. Unplug from social media and enjoy your surroundings for a few minutes. Bring your thoughts back to the present moment when they start to wander to that dark place.
I'm curious to see how this lifestyle approach can lead YOU to feel happier on a daily basis. Remember, though, it is a "practice"; don't expect to master it all at once. Day by day, little by little. Start introducing mindfulness into your life and I can guarantee that it will bring about positive changes.