It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. With having to work, take care of the house, kids, errands, meetings, and so much more it’s easy to become stressed out. In fact, taking time to just stop and smell the roses rarely happens for most people. At the end of the day, their energy is zapped and all they want to do is crawl into bed and sleep.
I think we can all relate to seasons of being overly busy.
That certainly isn’t the most optimal way to live. Stress is actually one of the most common ailments these days. With the lagging economy, failing relationships, lack of jobs, etc., chronic stress can latch onto you and before you know it, you’re living a miserably frustrating life.
Sure, you do have to work and take care of your tasks, but learning to take care of yourself first is of utmost importance if you want to experience a life of peace and joy.
Researchers tell us that those who learn the art of mindfulness, or living in the now, tend to live with less stress and more happiness. They’ve learned to release much of the burden of life and welcome more ease and flow.
But what does it mean to “live in the now”?
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply being mindful of the present moment. It’s being aware of your mind and body. It’s actually a Zen Buddhist meditation technique that researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn has been teaching about for years.
A great deal of research and studies have been done regarding the effects of mindfulness on stress levels, emotions, pain, and more. In fact, some hospitals are using mindfulness as a tool, along with other therapies for decreasing stress and pain.
When is the last time you just sat still in a quiet spot and silenced your mind? Most people never take time to do this. They’re minds are always running with hundreds of thoughts.
Mindfulness will allow you to stop the incessant thoughts and enjoy some peace in the mind. After all, I think that is really what everyone wants.
Being present takes practice. If we’re not consciously trying to live in the now, we are likely to be off thinking about the past or future.
Here are some helpful tips for experiencing mindfulness more consistently:
Find a quiet spot to sit or lie down. Take two or three deep breaths and as you exhale, relax your entire body. Solely focus on the inhale and exhale of your breath. Turn your attention to the present moment. Feel the chair or floor below you and hear whatever noises are occurring surrounding you.
As you focus on your breath, thoughts should start slowing down or stop. If a random thought enters your mind, simply witness it and then return your focus to your breathing.
You might be tempted to think that this is a waste of time, but I assure you that it isn’t. If you will take time each day to be mindful like this, you’ll notice that you’re stress level will decrease and you’ll begin to feel more relaxed, peaceful, and happier. There are plenty of people who have taken up mindfulness and meditation that can attest to the wonderful changes that occur in their lives due to consistent practice.
Begin with just a few minutes per day and increase gradually over time. You can also learn to become more mindful throughout your day. Take a few minutes at work in between clients or while you’re stuck in traffic on the way home. Be present, observe, and offer gratitude for life as it happens in real time.
Go for a walk at lunchtime and observe the gorgeous creation that surrounds you. When you get home, be mindful as you clean the kitchen, fold laundry, shower, cook dinner, engage with the children, etc.
The more mindful you become, the more serenity and joy you’ll be basking in.
Begin your journey to more mindful living today. Take some time to smell the flowers and hear the birds singing. Get comfortable sitting quietly with yourself. Focus on your breath. It takes practice and dedication, so why not get started practicing the art of living in the now today?
Your journey toward more peace and joy involves mindfulness, so make a commitment to begin today.
For more information about mindful living, check out mindful.org.
August 8, 2022
August 6, 2022