We often hear the phrase ‘live the moment’ as encouragement to be adventurous. This brings great benefits but there is a different, more mundane perspective on living in the moment which isn’t normally talked about. Achieving mindfulness does, however, come with its own benefits.
Here, we’ll take a look at what mindfulness is, and I’ll share with you five steps to help you get there…
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness, a practice well known in positive psychology literature, is the basic human ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we are doing.
We all naturally possess the skill of mindfulness but we tend to be out of practice due to our busy lives. But it does become more readily available to us when we practice daily.
One great benefit of mindfulness is it allows us to feel less overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. When you bring awareness to your state of mind through your thoughts and emotions you are being mindful.
Bringing attention to what you are directly experiencing via your senses is also an act of mindfulness.
The goal of mindfulness is to awaken the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes. Growing research – including this from Harvard University – shows that training yourself to be mindful remodels the physical structure of your brain.
Getting started on your mindfulness practice
Here are some steps you can take towards achieving mindfulness:
- Time: start by consciously selecting a time of the day you would like to become mindful. Once you strengthen the skill through regular practice, you won’t need this step.
- Presence: pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. For example, what thoughts are running through your head while you carry out an activity like making a cup of tea?
- Acknowledge: if you notice any judgments creep up while observing your thoughts, acknowledge them then let them pass.
- Return: we have multiple thoughts constantly running through our heads at one time. Be prepared to return to the present moment again and again.
- Be kind: when additional thoughts come up, be kind to yourself and practice recognising when your mind has wandered. Then, gently bring it back without judgment.
That’s it. Breaking the practice down to five steps can make it appear quite simple, however, you may find it a challenge when you have a go.
The important thing is to just keep doing it. You will eventually being to see results the more regularly you practice.
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