Most places now the word Mindfulness pops up everywhere, whether you are scrolling on the internet, reading an article, there is that word. What exactly is Mindfulness and how can we incorporate more of it into our lives. Let's start with the what Mindfulness is.
"Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us."
To be mindful is to live in awareness, living in the present, the NOW. To live in the NOW is the most important aspect of being truly mindful. When we are in awareness we are able notice our thoughts, are they positive or negative. Practicing awareness of our thoughts reminds us that we are NOT our thoughts, only observers. Think of your thoughts as tools that can either support or wound you. For most of us, our thoughts tend to be scattered or fluttering, going from the past to the future, rarely landing on the present! How many of you can relate to that? This is what is known as the "Butterfly Mind" so by bringing your mind to the present, we are able to stop the "fluttering"
There is no present in the past or the future.
One of the cornerstones of Mindfulness is a non judgemental mindset. When we are being judgemental whether it is of others or ourselves with negative self talk, we are practicing the opposite of LOVE. Show yourself and others love, stop the judgements, bring yourself back the NOW.
So how exactly do we practice being mindful. Here are some ways and tools you can incorporate into your daily life.
Do one thing at a time, so it slowly and deliberately. For example, if you are washing your hands, notice the temperature of the water, the pressure, how it feels on your hands.
Spend 5 minutes a day being still. Whatever that is for you…meditation, sitting in your quiet car before going into a meeting.
Take a walk in nature, find the beauty, sounds, colors..take note, take pictures.
During your next meal make note of the flavor, temperature, texture, colors etc..of your food and drink.
On your next coffee/lunch date be aware of your body language, your words ( are they kind), are you actively listening or just waiting for them to finish talking so you can talk.
Pause between actions. Pause and listen to your ringtone before answering your phone. Pause when you sit at your desk, take a breath before diving into the work. Pause when you get into your car before starting it up.
Observe your thoughts..remember you are just the observer of them, you are not your thoughts. Once you can listen to them, you know you have been still long enough to be mindful. Remember to be nonjudgemental in your thoughts.
Journal. Being still long enough to journal your thoughts, you will be surprised to see what comes up. Start with a question, for instance "what am I am angry about?" or "what am I grateful for"?
You can always tell when you are not in a mindful state. You tend to have scattered thoughts, you are being judgmental, you find yourself trying to control others, you notice faults of others. A mindful practice can help us change a lifelong habit of overthinking and worrying. It generates gratitude and acceptance. Give it a try and see where and how you can bring more mindfulness into you life. There are so many amazing benefits for this practice, why not?
How excited are you to try and incorporate more Mindfulness into your life? I am...let's do it together!
Nicky Clarke is Certified Mindfulness Coach and Spiritual Life Coach.