What is mindfulness?
Someone once said, “Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life.”
And that sums up mindfulness in a nutshell. How often do we think of the past and of what we have missed, or sit in regret because we didn’t do something or say something at the time. And how often do we think about the future and what we want and what we are going to do, but the tomorrow of our future never seems to arrive.
At times we can be so busy with our thoughts that we don’t even notice what is going on around us. Have you ever found that you have left for a destination and travelled there but been so absorbed in your thoughts that you don’t remember how you got there?
Mindfulness means becoming more aware of the here and now and stilling the many thoughts that flow in and out of your mind at one time. Being mindful involves letting go of negative feelings, past hurts and grudges but acknowledging the events that led you to the way you feel, but not allowing those feelings to take control of your life.
Walking mindfully is one way of staying in the present moment. Become aware of each step that you take when you are walking somewhere and start to notice your surroundings as your walk. Try to empty your mind of all the things you need to do during the day and start to include more positive thoughts into your day like, “I am having a wonderful day” or “I am going to take the time to listen more attentively to others today”.
Be aware of your breathing. When we get stressed or tense, our breathing becomes more shallow and so less oxygen is distributed throughout the body. When the phone rings or you are about to go into a meeting, take in a deep breathe and let it out slowly. This will help you to stay focused and present in the moment.
When you are eating or drinking something, take a moment to enjoy the taste. Very often we will eat a meal and be so engrossed in our thoughts that we don’t even notice what we are eating or how much food we are putting into our mouths. Become more aware of the texture of your food, whether it is hot or cold, and notice how your mouth feels as you chew the food.
Practicing mindfulness is also a wonderful way for preventing life from getting in the way of living, and for full experiencing each special moment in your life.