The benefits of mindfulness are well known and range from sharper focus to overall life satisfaction. Such a deeply impactful practice deserves to be made mainstream, and not just something to remember at the yoga studio.
Here you'll find different areas where mindfulness can be applied to everyday life, and some of my personal experiences to inspire you to become more mindful.
my experience with mindfulness
Having decided to dedicate my life to practice psychology and understand more about the functioning of the human brain, mindfulness stands out as a powerful life-changing practice.
I was introduced to mindfulness in a very intensive way. The first time I ever sat to intentionally experience the present moment was in a meditation course that lasted 10 days, and had me sitting down to meditate 10 hours a day, and with the grace of a vow of noble silence.
So for 10 days I was immersed in mindful appreciation of the present moment, and the practice of returning to that moment - the now - over and over again.
The tricky part about this practice is that our monkey mind love to jump from branch to branch, from thought to thought, and ever so rarely takes a rest in what is happening right now. We're often addicted to the memories of the past, or the worries of the future. But the present moment holds the key to a more fulfilling life. One that understands that the only moment there is is now.
Mindfulness can have an influence in many different aspects of life. Here I write about how I experience mindfulness, how I practice it, and how I strive to develop it.
Here's how to get started:
What it takes to live mindfully
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Can we be mindful every day, throughout the day?
I believe so.
Appreciating the moment can be as simple as being aware of your body temperature, the bitter taste of an olive, or the subtle mood changes provoked by hunger.
Practicing everyday mindfulness also means finding a healthy distance between your hardest struggles and your joys, so you can easily maintain a sense of peace and satisfaction about life that isn't dependent on external circumstances.
Just like any muscle in your body, your brain will become stronger at anything it's used to repeat. So the more you practice to be mindful, in different ways, the more it'll become natural to be mindful.
Practices can include meditation, journalling, mindful walking or mindful eating, or any other practice that is meant to get you more aware of yourself and your surroundings, in a state of focus and relaxation.
Needless to say, focus and relaxation are two very important ingredients in life. So to practice your brain to naturally return to this state can have a very fruitful impact.
Research: Several studies have shown that the brain has the ability to change when you practice mindfulness. This means it reshapes itself to transfer that training into different life situations even outside of the practice.
Life often presents us with small and big choices. To make mindful choices means to have a deep sense of the implications of our choice, but on a personal level as well as for the world around us.
To not mistake this with making "the right choices". Let's try to not be arrogant to believe we know what's "right". But when you're mindful about the why and the consequences of your choices, then you can feel more reassured that you made a choice that feels right for you.
Sometimes we're just in "the zone". We can hear the birds singing, and we feel the breeze in our face, and for that moment we just feel like everything is alright.
Other times, mindfulness needs to be called to the rescue as a sort of safety tool, to save you from trouble.
Or without request or invitation, it may bring you the answer to the question you've been struggling with in your mind.