“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
~ Albert Einstein ~
Sometimes, life throws us curve balls and tries to knock us off course. Whether it’s work, home life or external factors, it’s easy to succumb to the pressure and get stressed out. From the moment our feet hit the ground in the morning, the action starts. There are a thousand tiny decisions that need to be made throughout the day. Because of this, we may not notice all of the beautiful things around us. But not to worry, we have a solution!
Mindfulness means having an open mind and accepting each moment without judging it. It is an easy way to relieve stress and be happy in the moment.
Mindfulness originated from Buddhism. Many religions teach us to pray or meditate, to let things go. So, mindfulness has adapted to be a type of practice that allows you to do that. It is done so that the mind will release bad energy, relax and concentrate on the moment.
Mindfulness can do a variety of different things for us, such as improve our:
- Physical health
- Mental health
Mindfulness can be practiced in different ways. The gist of it is to bring your mind to relaxation, while still being focused. We will no longer judge our thoughts or sensations. When we focus on the moment, it is considered meditation.
Basic meditation – While sitting quietly, start focusing on your breathing. Let the thoughts creep into your mind and back out again without doing any judgment. Always remain focused on consistent breathing.
Sensations of the body – Concentrate on your body and think about it from your head to your toes. If there is a tingle or even an itch, do not react. Let it pass through your mind.
Handling sensory – Now think about smells, different sights, different sounds, and even things that can be touched. Let everything pass through your mind without judging.
Our emotions – Instead of judging the emotions that are being felt, say what is being felt, and then let those emotions go.
Meditation helps with mindfulness because it allows us to focus our attention on different things. Meditation can be done at home and when alone. When you first start learning how to meditate, it helps to do it with an instructor or even a group of people.
First, we learn to let the stress go by concentrating on other things. It could be your breathing, while you let thoughts come into your mind and then let them go. Yoga and Tai Chi are also very good for relieving stress.
While meditating, practice concentrating by:
- Going with the flow
- Paying attention to your body and things that are around you
- Stick with it
Acceptance comes with practice
Learn to be kind and to forgive ourselves and others.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Redirect the mind gently when it wanders off
- Keep trying and do not give up
When doing meditation alone, try the following:
- Sit on the floor and cross your legs or sit in a straight-back chair with your legs in front of you.
- When inhaling and exhaling, think about your belly rising and then falling back down. Inhale through your nose and let the air out through your mouth.
- By narrowing your concentration, you will widen your focus. Let the mind be aware of any ideas, different sensations, or even sounds.
- It does not matter if a sensation or thought is something bad or good. Do not let judgment creep in.
Staying in the present
The awesome thing about mindfulness is that we can do it during any part of the day. While playing with kids, eating something, taking a shower, going for a walk, or even reaching out and touching a loved one.
Here is a recap of how to practice mindfulness:
- Concentrate on body sensations
- Inhale through your nose, expanding your belly
- Exhale through your mouth
- When inhaling and exhaling, think about the sensations
- Use full deliberation, while doing each task slowly
- Senses should be engaged, so every sensation will be savored
- If your mind wanders off, bring it back by concentrating on the sensations
Over time, meditation will have more of an effect. It will take around 20 minutes before your mind is relaxed, so don’t rush it. Take 45 minutes each day to let your body and mind get lost in meditation.