Living a Mindful Life
Why Be Mindful
Living a mindful life can transform you. Here is why, imagine your day, you are going about your typical routine exhausted, anxious, thinking about it all. Unfortunately, you don’t have to imagine it you are doing this, right?
Now, imagine this, you are going about your day and you are enjoying the breeze as you enter your car you notice a passerby ringing his bicycle bell, a thought pops into your head that your husband will be late today because of a meeting, then you go back to your present moment and realize a nice smell of baking bread just hit your nose from the bakery across the street. You are living in the moment.
Mindfulness is about being in this moment living your life fully aware. You see, mindfulness is not an escape but a realization that there is no other moment. Life is not about the escape but about the full acceptance of presence. Clearly, there is no other life but this life, and its that realization and acceptance that enriches living.
Additionally, you are capable of being mindful every moment, it’s our habit of constant thinking that keeps us busy (and exhausted). In fact, to create and live a mindful life all you have to do is let go of constant mind talk. You see, you could simply let go (disconnect) from constant mind chatter this very moment. However, if you are like the rest of us, you might need some help. So to help you, below are great methods to bring your mindful mind back and begin living a mindful life.
You will see that you begin mindfulness by quieting the mind and immersing yourself in your life while fully awake. Also, there are several methods that help to be mindful. Such as, quieting the mind, meditation, self-awareness, and breathing techniques. In short, the various ways to get there are not important, but practicing them is essential.
How to begin Mindfulness Practices:
Become Aware of Your Surroundings
Becoming aware of what is going on around you is the basic element of the mindful mind. If you are present in your life than you can live fully and actively.
Begin by noticing things around you. While you are noticing things just observe without judging it, look at colors, smells, lights, sounds, people talking, cars passing…basically anything that is in your surroundings. Enjoy things around you, the smell of nearby restaurant, the breeze, or even the cool morning air. Practice daily for a few minutes where ever you are. The more you practice this the better you will get at being present in any situation.
The many wonderful benefits of meditation on the brain are undeniable. For this reason, meditation is not just for those seeking spirituality, but for anyone seeking a mindful life.
Thus, a mindful practice should be a priority. Our prefrontal cortex with its network of neural activity, though amazing, should not rule the complex being behind it. Read more on Meditation Here.
As a result of a meditative regime, you can seek change that includes controlled emotional responses like, rational thinking, intentional speaking, less fearfulness, body awareness, and empathy.
There are many meditation videos on youtube. Non the less, I recommend you choose one by a professional teacher. Be aware that meditation releases a lot of energy and you might feel agitated so take care of yourself after and find some energy expending activity like walking, yard work, or boxing (Read more on why this might happen here). The Guided meditation video I suggest is by Sadhguru, a yoga master, its safe and I would prefer you to learn from someone who knows how to teach it.
Quieting The Mind
Another alternative to mindfulness practice from above, quieting the mind, will allow you to let go of anxiety-induced thinking. Most of our energy expenditure happens because we are so used to talking to ourselves without shutting up. If a person was next to you constantly talking about how life sucks, yelling at you, making rude remarks about how you look you would tell them to be quiet, right? So be kind to you and tell yourself to shut up a bit so you can enjoy the moment. So, you must quiet the mind by calming your constant thinking.
Practice paying attention to what you are doing. For example, while driving, doing dishes, reading, you need to give it your full attention. While giving it
Focusing on your breath can be a calming and effective way to learn to be mindful. By hearing, feeling, and taking deep breaths you can effectively give your body more oxygen and calm your mind.
Below you will find several choices of breathing images. Focus on the image, breath in and out to the rhythm of the image. Try not to think of anything but the feel of your lungs expanding and contracting. Practice daily when at your desk or phone.
Self-awareness is your mirror neuron’s at work, its the introspection of yourself threw sensory, bodily, cognitive, emotional awareness. In addition, you have two types of self-awareness internal and external. Internal we can control while external is interactive.
Sit quietly for five minutes and become aware of your heart rate, your breathing (as it is), your tongue, your head, your ears, your back, your belly, your sexual organs, your knees, your feet. As you become aware try not to talk in your head, just sit with your body and be aware of it. Practice this quiet introspection first and once its complete do the one below.
Now that you have become aware of your body, be aware of the outside. Do you hear sounds, smell anything, see things in your surroundings. Pay close attention and really see, smell, and feel those things around you. Just observe but do not judge what you observe. Do this for 2-3 minutes after each introspection of your body.
Mindfulness is your ability to be present, aware and active in your environment. It’s paying full attention to your body and mind’s actions and reactions to the outside world so that you can begin living a mindful life. In short, there are many ways to practice being more mindful such as through the practice of mindfulness, meditation, breathing, and self-awareness exercises. All though those are different techniques, they all teach the basic function of quieting the mind and bringing you to the present moment, the only moment there is. To summaries, when you learn to enjoy this moment, you begin to accept the beauty of life as it is and not as you wish it to be. On the whole, that in itself brings life satisfaction or meaning and is the core of living a mindful life.
How is your mind?
Have you mastered quieting the mind yet? How did you go about doing it? Do you feel happy in your current life? Why or why not?
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