“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

Watch this beautiful video on how mindfulness empowers us by Happify, narrated by the wonderful Sharon Salzberg, author of Love your Enemies

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!

How mindful are you activity Vidya Sury

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.

70 Comments

  1. I am going to try to be a bit more mindful today. Thanks for such an in-depth and interesting post. Have a lovely weekend.

  2. And the Master does it Mindfully! Vidya, you have such a wonderful knack with expressing your thoughts so lucidly! Wouldn’t we all be a happier lot if we could follow even a trifle of mindfulness in our everyday lives?! Looking forward to your posts through April 🙂

    • Hugs, Kala! Thank you so much for your kind words! You know what? I posted this post on the wrong blog before I realized what I’d done – luckily I didn’t publish it. So much for being mindful eh? But I am a lifelong learner.
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Filled With Gratitude

  3. Kathryn Trask Reply

    Wow, really enjoyed your post and loved the video you chose to make a point. I will be back every day! I hate starring in my own disaster movie! So to be kinder to myself I will notice when I am and just gently acknowledge it but foster the goodness of the present.
    Kathryn Trask recently posted…Audiobooks

    • Thank you Kathryn! I like to remember that the present is just that – a present – ours to cherish, or lose. I am trying my best to practice what I preach! 🙂 Hugs!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

  4. This is my first stop on day one of A to Z– even before I posted my offering:) So happy, I did. Feel like saying ‘Om’ to a happy beginning. Love the animation and of course, the wise words. Thank you.
    Arti recently posted…A to Z Challenge 2016

  5. Wonderful first post! I did read it acutely aware that I had a bit of time before work and wanted to visit lots of blogs… then stopped and concentrated on it 🙂

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog
    Mars recently posted…A is for Addiction & Adventures

  6. Great topic! I am sharing this on my site! I will do some posts in the future answering your questions and credit you with a link back. Is that ok with you? Following you for this challenge.

  7. Determined to be more mindful and live in the present moment! Enjoyed reading the article – thank you for sharing.
    Dahlia recently posted…A = Alta

  8. I am so going to love your posts on Mindfulness because I can’t help but relate to the very logical points you’ve made.
    I totally agree that it’s not about being in an ideal situation or frame of mind and neither is it about being mindlessly positive without taking a moment to analyze the situation.
    Loved the start of this journey into our being 🙂
    Looking forward to what’s in store tomorrow <3
    My Era recently posted…Attention

    • Thank you My Era! Mindfulness is a lovely practice and I am enjoying my journey with it since several years now. Hugs! Loved your A post!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

  9. Great post as always. And much needed for our generation. Really hoping that I am able to move from mindless to mindful through your inspiring posts!

    Seena from
    Thinking Aloud

  10. Wonderful activity to engage the readers.. Lovely!
    And mindfulness.. Truly an enlightening write-up.. It makes us do positive things and help us stay and be where we are.. 🙂

    Cheers

  11. What can you do today to be kinder to yourself?
    1. I am going to think about things that I appreciate about myself.
    2. Laugh a bit more… The guys at Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men can help me with that.
    3. Though the situation is distressing me… but I am going to let go and practice patience and calm.
    4. Be not very critical of self.
    5. Change my way of thinking for a certain issue.

    Thanks for this wonderful exercise, Vidya. I am feeling much better already! 🙂
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Acceptance #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z

    • You had me at Two and a half men, Shilpa, it is one of my all-time favorite shows. Five excellent ways to be kinder to yourself – thank you so much for sharing your response to the question! Love, Vidya
      Vidya Sury recently posted…ABC of Mindfulness

  12. Inderpreet Kaur Uppal Reply

    Such a wonderfully detailed post on mindfulness. I love the ABC and this part was too good. “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?)”
    People usually think it is!
    Inderpreet Kaur Uppal recently posted…The Book of Adam – Hypnotic by Iris Bolling

    • Thanks Inderpreet! The easiest things are often the toughest to do! I loved that definition too! Thing is, subjects like mindfulness appear very lofty – except they’re simple every day habits!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

    • I love the “self” awareness part of mindfulness as most of us look outside and take a long time to look within. 🙂 There’s a reason why charity begins at home – unless we’re in a good place, how can we do good for others? I like that you put health at no.1 – it is the only real wealth we can create. Thank you Chicky! I am glad you’re along for the A to Z and your theme? Wowowow!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Filled With Gratitude

  13. I love this theme, and will surely stick around till the end of April to complete this journey towards mindfulness!
    There’s just this one thing I want to change about myself right now- I don’t want to doubt myself and my abilities. I hope I’ll be able to change that.

    • Mithila, it just takes a change of perspective to see yourself as capable, most of the time. You ARE capable of whatever you wish to be. 🙂 Believe it!

      Thanks for coming by and your kind comment!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

  14. Roshan Radhakrishnan Reply

    Wow.. I gotta be honest. I like to think I overthink on everything but I had honestly never considered this point of view. And sadly, I really need to work on being more mindful of myself.
    Roshan Radhakrishnan recently posted…Know Your Show: Agents of SHIELD #AtoZChallenge

    • 🙂 It is a process, Roshan and I am sure you’ll get there. That’s what makes life interesting, no? All the best!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

  15. Love the post Vidya and what a superb and necessary theme. Mindfulness is usually on my mind and I try to practise it as much as possible, while teaching yoga and while at home. Love n all the best with the challenge 🙂

  16. You know what, your posts on mindfulness is always like a reminder … Overtime I read it I am like – Damn didn’t I promise myself to be more mindful. That’s how mindless I am. Wonderful points there. I seriously need to to print few out and keep it on my desk.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Adventurous Foodie is Back #atozchallenge

  17. What a beautiful post! I am so needful of this. The little ABC reminder is something I need to write down and put on my bathroom mirror! I read on Music & Words that you’re from Bangalore, India. Our daughter is from Bangalore. She’s an awesome woman, too! 😀
    Calen~

  18. I know I have a full mind, but now I’ll try to be mindful 🙂

    I’ve got the ABC right so far. And with awesome friends like you, I’m sure I’ll get to Z in no time.

    Love you!
    Soumya recently posted…A: Airports #AtoZChallenge

  19. lovely post and reminder Vidya thank you! I didn’t score too well on the questions so that was a wake up call .
    Susan recently posted…A-Z begins!

  20. My practice helps me attend to my peaceful and loving wolf. I so appreciate words like the ones you’ve sent our way today because it extends that practice into another day and brings me to mindfulness and my breath.

    Thanks, Vidya
    Namaste.

  21. what a lovely post vidya, glad to read this post and am happy, its a reinforcement for me; last month attended a workshop on mindfulness and enjoyed re learning to practice the art of being mindful. The video was great and thanks for the tips to rate oneself… thanks for sharing !!

  22. What a lovely post! I loved that little quiz at the end and so very important to not have a full mind but be mindful of all that we do. I love how you put words around thoughts so beautifully!
    Parul recently posted…A for AdaCamp #AtoZChallenge

  23. I read the list and realised I am a robot! that’s pretty much how I’m doing things! I need this mindfulness more than ever Vidya! Plenty of food for my thought.
    Shubhangi recently posted…A for Ayurveda

  24. Too much to learn from the post today. It will help me to be self aware whenever I deviate!

  25. With so many things happening not just in the real world but jn my head as well, I admit that mindfulness is not my forte. Ppl jeep saying it helps though so sooner or later I’ll have to make an effort to try it ?

  26. I love the small video with the wolves and glad the gentle wolf is in blue:) I think, at this time, I do practice mindful living as much as I can but there is always room for improvement. When we need to practise this is when we are under a lot of stress and this is the time we forget to do it.
    Birgit recently posted…The A To Z Challenge…It’s Here! The Letter A

  27. Vidya
    It was a pleasure to read your inspiriting post and look forward to reading many more.
    Best Wishes
    Jo-Ann Carson
    Lovin’ Danger blog (part of the A2Z Challenge)

  28. Well said, Vidya. I like your tip ‘ What 5 things can I do to be kinder to myself?’
    Wonderful post.

    Good luck for the A to Z Challenge.

  29. Mindfulness that I keep trying to practice..sometimes I succeed and sometimes I slip up. But every time I practice it, I realize that it is so much constructive when I am in the ‘present’ , being in the moment so to say. Enables one to be so constructive.
    Btw, thanks for that amazing visualization post you shared some time back. I have been trying to practice it and cure my insomnia which I get at times. Been practicing trying to sleep faster using visualization techniques and have noticed a great improvement 🙂
    themoonstone recently posted…Teaspoon

  30. It was one of my resolutions for last year and it got me through a whole host of tough times. This is a lovely post. And your blog is definitely going to be in my list of daily hops!
    Hugs!
    p.s I grinned today! 🙂

  31. Monica Deshpande Reply

    A beautiful article, Vidya, and a perfectly timed reminder as the A-Z frenzy takes over my life. 🙂 Thank you! It’s so you.
    Love and hugs.

  32. Wonderful post, Vidya. I was taught mindfulness for depression therapy and it has become a daily practice now. Thank you! I will be spreading the word on this post 🙂
    Have a great weekend!
    Lori

  33. I am quite unmindful Vidya when it comes to concentration…too many things at hand!! Enjoyed reading your A letter and I am sure it will help many of us to buckle up on the state of A for Awareness:)
    Vishal Bheeroo recently posted…C for Coffee

    • We are all pretty much on the path to mindfulness, Vishal! Intentions strong, actions lagging behind. The important thing is that we’re willing! 🙂 Thank you for visiting. And you know I am running over to your place -you said the C word!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Business and Mindfulness

  34. I liked the post a lot.. I try doing some mindful living but lose sight of it after a few days.. I have been trying to inculcate these in my daily life.. progressing little by little.. this weekend I clicked pictures of all that made me happy- my favorite nailpaint, a novel that I was reading, simple dish of spinach mother made at home, sprouts I ate for evening snack, and the sunset sky from terrace.. 🙂

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