I asked myself this question many times before and recently, when talking to a friend, I thought I could share how I started to understand and practice mindfulness.
At first, I thought mindfulness was about meditation, and meditation was about being still, in silence and clear your mind .
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Mindfulness is “The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”
Here's another definition: “The practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm.” - Cambridge Dictionary
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Have you ever said something that you regret the second you finish talking?
Have you ever let your emotions have control of the situation? Have you ever felt like the victim of circumstances or events out of your control?
Well friends, if the answer is "YES", you could benefit from some mindfulness.
I remember the first time I hear about mindfulness, I was in class when this professor started talking about mindfulness and to be quite honest, I did not understand it, the idea was to abstract. It took years of stress, fights, mistakes and overreactions (specially in my personal life) to finally understand it and practice it.
So basically, it means being aware of and controlling your experience. You are in the moment acting, not reacting to life.
This is how I see it, Mindfulness prevent us of becoming a three-year-old child who cries when his/her needs are not met. Without mindfulness we can’t see past obstacles, or others people's comments and opinions and we are overly emotional.
Being mindful means that you are responsible for what we are thinking, saying and doing because each action, word and thought are conscious; and if it is not the experience we want, we can change it.
Something that helps me every time and in every situation in my constant practice to mindfulness is:
Walking through nature may actually put the brain into a meditative state. This will hold your attention while also allowing for reflection.
This keeps us from truly living in the present. Use a "Single pointed focus" minset on one task completely, and then take a break before continuing or moving on to another task.
Try engaging in your favorite creative practice; maybe cooking, drawing, or singing, and see how your thoughts quiet down as you get into a state of flow.
Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind, is not a part of any religion. When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you.
You can begin by attending to your breath, and then if a thought comes, attend to it, notice it, be open to it—and it will pass. Then you can come back to the breath.
Create a healthy relationship with your phone. Maybe start or end the day without checking email or choosing to unplug on Saturdays or every time you go on vacation.
But most importantly, put the phone away, truly connect with others and look into your loved ones' eyes while spending time with them.
Calming the breath is the key to calming the mind.
"When you focus on your breathing, the mental distraction will stop. You don’t think of the past anymore. You don’t think of the future. You don’t think of your projects, because you are focusing your attention, your mindfulness, on your breath.” -Thich Nhat Hahn
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