What is mindfulness?
Often when people think about mindfulness they imagine someone sitting on a cushion alone in a room with their eyes closed. Sometimes that IS what mindfulness practice looks like, and sitting with your eyes closed in this way has great benefits… but mindfulness is also so much more.
Mindfulness is a way to approach everyday life that makes living more enjoyable and less stressful. You can apply mindfulness to everything you do, whether you are eating, walking, or sitting in class.
Mindfulness is a choice
Mindfulness is a choice that you can make at any moment. By practicing Mindfulness you can better understand how you feel and what you are experiencing. It is about being aware of the present moment, instead of replaying the past or worrying about the future.
Mindful awareness means being aware, with kindness. It’s about being engaged in everyday life. Choosing to be nice to yourself and others in the present moment, and bringing an open awareness to all moments, whether those moments are pleasant, neutral, or maybe even unpleasant.
Bringing to that awareness some curiosity and kindness, instead of judgement and criticism. You may be surprised at what you learn if you are curious and kind. This does not mean that you need to be meditating.
You just need to be paying attention on purpose, with a little friendliness. This can help you with stress, or anxiety, or even sadness. It helps you focus on what is happening right now, because worrying about the future, or the past all the time can be exhausting.
Practicing paying attention
Practicing paying attention, in a kind way, to little things, can help train your mind so you can develop more ease across your life. Anything can be levelled up with mindfulness. Here are some examples of ways you can be mindful in everyday life.
Right now, you might be sitting in a chair watching this video on your phone – how heavy does your phone feel in your hand? What parts of your hand is the phone touching? Is your phone hot? Warm? Or maybe cool? Are you sitting down? What parts of your body are being supported by the chair? If you are standing can you feel which parts of your feet are connected to the ground, Or where you are placing the weight of your body on your feet? This is all mindfulness! Or maybe, when you are talking with someone, instead of listening to them so that you can give them a response, or to answer them, listen with the goal of understanding them better.
This is a little change that can make a big difference in a conversation. The trick is not to automatically react to what you are paying attention to. Just notice what body sensations and emotions come up.
Notice your reactions or judgement because there will be judgement, just try not to judge how judgmental you might be! There is no right or wrong, just noticing what is happening in the moment – this can be noticing what is going on around you, or inside of you.
Let any and all things that you notice … be there. You can practice this type of mindfulness anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstance. Simply be aware of what is happening in that moment. Like this moment; what are you noticing right now?