“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness. Many have heard of this word and it is practically being said and seen everywhere on social media. One might think they have an idea of what mindfulness actually is, but they do not know the whole meaning and importance of mindfulness. Let me tell you.
Mindfulness: Practice Of Being Aware
Mindfulness is being aware of everything you do, see, hear or eat. It is the act of paying a lot of attention to the task you are doing and increasing your skills at it. It is the basic human concept of being in the moment and being fully present in what we are doing and where we are. Mindfulness helps us regulate self-control. Mindfulness has the potential to lead one towards happiness and fulfilling life.
Such practices can be seen when one is paying attention to the food they are eating: what are the distinct spices involved, the textures of the food they are eating, and how the smell helps them satisfy their hunger. It may seem like a lot of focusing, but once you get a hand at it, it is really the easiest thing that makes life a bit livelier.
“Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.” – Louis L’Amour
Mindfulness is a practice that will help you grow, it is not to be mistaken with a solution to your problems (Do remind yourself that not all problems have solutions nor do they need any). This article and the purpose behind is to further explain to people the importance of mindfulness and why exactly many people talk about it.
There are many reasons which support the power of mindfulness. Once you have gotten a hang of what it is and what it feels like, you will notice things in life that you have never noticed before. Those little moments actually bring you more happiness than other materialistic things. Stating that, let us look at the benefits that come with mindfulness.
Benefits of Mindfulness
There are numerous benefits that come along with mindfulness. It is not just said that mindfulness has a great impact, there is tons of research and evidence behind the claim of mindfulness. Let us go ahead and look at the multiple benefits:
- Psychological Benefits: Research has shown that people who practice mindfulness are less stressed, both psychologically and physiologically. Mindfulness is also crucial when it comes to managing happiness levels. It is important to note that happiness is more than a good feeling, It has the power of boosting our immune system and helps us stay healthy.
- Cognitive Benefits: Mindfulness comes with a few cognitive benefits, namely memory and sleep. Mindfulness helps improve our memory, by increasing our chances of recalling information. Along with memory, our creativity gets a power-up due to mindfulness. Hence why many artists or writers, like to go for a walk or try something new to get inspiration. Mindfulness helps us with focusing on projects while working individually as well as in groups. Mindfulness also can help us tackle hurdles and problems with a clear head.
There are many more benefits of practicing mindfulness, however, I have stated down the most influential ones. Now that it is stated that mindfulness has a great impact on our lives in physical, psychological, and cognitive terms, let us dig into how to practice it, and slowly integrate mindfulness into our lives.
“In our times, it is radical to choose to sit still and be silent, to resist an identity of busyness, ceaseless motion, and noise, and to reclaim our sanity and humanity by coming home to ourselves.”
— Sumi Loundon Kim
5 Ways To Practice Mindfulness
1. Be Aware Of Your Emotions
This is a step that is probably seen in every article regarding self-care. But this is due to the grave importance that comes along with it and the consequences it has on one’s thought process and being. When you notice an emotion, just take slight notice of it, but try not to dissect that emotion and understand it. Just accept the emotion which is there, and return to your present state. This helps cultivate your sense of mindfulness and remaining in the present.
2. Pay Attention To The Way You Breathe
Seemingly the easiest step, but in fact it is a tough step. Noticing how we breathe, and how our stomach goes in and comes out, really aids in focusing on ourselves and not pondering on our thoughts. This means you should let your thoughts be and let them go. If you focus on the thoughts too much, this means your mind has wandered from what it was doing earlier. This can be very difficult, but keep on reminding yourself it is okay, and try again and again.
3. Take A Walk
Walking is the most effective way of practicing mindfulness. But this means not listening to any music, and simply paying attention to the entire experience of walking. Walking is very helpful because we do it without thinking, which is exactly the thing we are trying not to do. The purpose of mindfulness. Listen to wind blowing, birds chirping and people talking. Look all around, and take in the environment and its beauty of it. Try to engage all your senses while walking.
4. Mindful Eating
Let us be honest: most of us eat our meals while watching television or on our phones. Due to this, we end up eating way too fast, too fast to truly appreciate the food. So in order to fully appreciate your meals, keep aside all of your gadgets and thoughts. Simply focus on the meal in front of you: smell the spices of it, take small bites and feel each different texture. It may take some time to finish your meal, but let it be. When we are fully aware of what we are eating and putting in our bodies, we are grateful for having this meal. And this is one step toward being happy with what you have at the moment.
5. Finally, Do What You Actually Love
When we do activities that we love, we tend to not think of anything else, except that particular activity. And that is the best part of taking part in hobbies. It allows us to be centered and at the moment, focused on our task. Each and everyone has their own hobby they love, and it does not matter if they are good at it or not, in the end, they are happier and less stressed. Do what you love and remember to be there while doing it.
Mindfulness is something that I have personally implemented in my life, and I am already in high spirits and appreciate the things and people that surround me. Mindfulness truly is a savior during times when life feels mundane and empty. I highly encourage trying out these steps and following through with them. Maybe it might change your day. Remember, happiness lies in the nice little things in life. Be sure to notice them!
“Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom.”Bhante Henepola Gunaratana