You may have heard that being more mindful makes you a better person. And, it’s proven scientifically that this is the case. Creating a consistent mindfulness practice will grant you a healthier and more productive life. But what exactly is mindfulness?
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” It is the practice of focusing fully on the here and now. In my experience, in order to incorporate present moment awareness into your life, you need to do so gradually. Here is my step-by-step guide to help you move towards mindfulness.
Step #1: Get Into Your Breathing
It begins by connecting with your breath. We learn this through our yoga practice by watching our inhalations and exhalations and moving in sync with the breath. This gives us a focus and keeps us in the present moment. When your attention is on your breath, your mind stays in the here and now. You are “mind full.” With the latest tech gadgets, it’s easy to form the daily habit of taking time to inhale and exhale. For just minutes a day, you can start training the mind to pause and center on just this one thing.
Step #2: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Expand your mindfulness training by finding a task to focus on each day. When you are talking to someone, give them your full attention. When you are washing dishes, concentrate on the process. When you are working on a project, put down your phone for a designated time to stay in the groove. You will notice your life becomes more enjoyable.
Step #3: Try Meditating
Find a technique that works well for you so that you can return to it again and again, joyfully. It should be done at the same time each day. This way your mind and body will develop the habit of being attentive. Meditation teaches you to admonish the thoughts that don’t serve you in order to clear the mind for more favorable impressions. It also trains you to slow down your response time so that you can make conscious reactions. Meditation gives you choice, power and freedom over your thoughts.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Increase in Productivity
When you improve your ability to focus, you get more things done properly. Staying in the moment can generate a greater capacity for creativeness and efficiency. It also leaves you with a deep feeling of satisfaction.
Improvement in Health
This benefit has many aspects. When you attune to your breath, you can actually slow down your heart rate, improve your cardiovascular and immune systems and create a healthier body. You can also address the issue of pain management by controlling the way you respond to stimuli. When you train yourself to be less reactive and more selective, the body and mind can actually pause and redirect a response. The same goes for anxiety and addiction. When you learn that you have a choice in how you respond, you can stop the auto pilot mode and begin to make new, more favorable choices. And, by bringing positivity into your field of awareness, you can lift yourself out of a depressive state.
Happiness for All
We can only generate a compassion for others when we grant it to ourselves. Breath awareness and meditation will enable you to accept who and where you are in this moment. When you fully embrace and appreciate yourself, you are able to be non-judgmentmental and kind toward others.
This one thing, mindfulness, can improve every aspect of your life. A mental purity practice will allow you to live younger with happiness for self and others.
If you want to explore the research behind the benefits of mindfulness, visit the UMass Center for Mindfulness website.