Mindfulness is about focussing only on the present moment – living in the NOW. Being aware of what you see, hear, smell, taste and how you feel RIGHT NOW.
What’s wrong with thinking about the past or the future?
Nothing. Only that the past is gone so you can’t change it and the future isn’t yet here and you can’t predict it.
The clincher is that whilst you’re thinking about the past or the future – you’re missing out on what’s happening right in front of your nose – the now!
How do I practice mindfulness?
The good news is it’s easy to train yourself to be mindful and you don’t have to wear orange robes and sit in a cave.
Mindfulness is free and you can do it anywhere anytime; like whilst on your way to work, washing the dishes or waiting in a supermarket line.
Breathe naturally in and out of your nostrils. As you inhale notice your belly rise and as you exhale notice your belly fall. Remember to focus only on the present – the NOW.
So let’s say you are walking down the street – not staring at your phone – and you become aware of your surroundings; what can you hear, feel or smell?
You might hear birds, leaves rustling in the trees and hear the sounds of traffic….You might see other people and dogs, see plants and flowers in people’s gardens and see rubbish bins and letterboxes…You might smell freshly mowed grass, petrol fumes from a passing bus or the perfume of someone who walks by you….You might feel the soles of your feet in your shoes as they press down and away from the path as you walk, feel the sun warming your back or feel your nose start to itch and your tummy grumble…
You get the idea!
Feel calm and focused
By observing and only being present in the NOW, you give yourself a break. Your thoughts slow down by focusing on what you observe around you in that moment. This in turn allows your body to relax and for you to feel calm yet focused. Who’d have thought that this is your natural state – a calm mind and relaxed body!
The next time you are feeling stressed and perceive things to be out of control, take a moment to focus on the NOW. This will help you refresh and refocus so that you are able to manage any stress and take appropriate action in a calm and collected manner.