“Mindfulness is the new black”
Living in the moment with focus is not a new concept, but it was probably easier for our ancestors who did not have the distractions we struggle with during our times.
So what is the big deal about living mindfully?
Before I start singing its praises, let’s look at what mindfulness is NOT
- Mindfulness is NOT about that ideal world where we drift along, serene and zoned out
- Mindfulness is NOT about being irritatingly positive all the time, no matter what. (Can you imagine? Facebook and other social media would have to shut down, no?)
- It is NOT time consuming or a ritual you have to force on yourself.
- It is NOT something that requires special skills before you see the results
What is it, then?
- Mindfulness is cultivating self-awareness, and being awake in the moment. It is about paying attention consciously, non-judgmentally.
- It is a practice that helps us tackle and accept life, our relationships and ourselves the way we are, right now.
- It is about not visiting Facebook ten times and spending the next three hours and feeling guilt take over before actually getting around to why you went there in the first place.
In one line, it is “showing up fully in our lives and living them as if this moment is the only one we have” Jon Kabat-Zinn
Here are some benefits worth considering:
- You enjoy what you are doing more when you focus on the one thing at hand
- You are less likely to dwell on past regrets
- You don’t worry so much about the future as you would, otherwise
- You are better able to let go of self-esteem issues
- You build better connections with people
- You respond better
- You think more clearly
- Your creativity blooms
- You feel your life is more balanced
Then there are the health benefits:
- Less stress
- Lower BP
- Improved brain function
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Easier to fight pain
- Better sleep
- Fewer tummy issues
Mindfulness is also known to help improve mental health, especially in those with anxiety disorders, depression and psychological distress, as well as substance use disorders.
An easy way to understand mindfulness is through the convenient acronym ABC
A is for awareness
More awareness of our actions and thoughts and about what is happening in our mind and body
B is for “Being”
Being in the moment rather than responding on autopilot, feeding problems and starring in our own disaster movies.
C is for compassion and curiosity
where we see things and respond with kindness, creating a gap between the situation and our reaction so we can make better choices.
Practicing being in the moment involves changing at least some of the things we do on autopilot to feel more present – such as taking a five minute break every hour, seeing ourselves without judgment, being kinder to ourselves and letting go of perfectionism.
Something to think about:
- What 5 things can you do today to be kinder to yourself?
- What 5 things can you do to make your day easier?
How mindfulness empowers us
Today’s mindful living activity:
How mindful are you?
Print it out if you like – it is a good checkpoint to return to, from time to time because you know you can change! You can also add your own questions!
Today’s post is the first in the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is “Mindful Living”.
I thank Arlee Bird of Tossing it out for masterminding the A to Z Challenge and am thrilled that this is my fourth year in the challenge with four blogs.