Picture yourself walking through the park on a beautiful spring afternoon. The sun is peaking through a cluster of trees allowing you to feel the warmth of its rays on your skin. The leaves are lightly rustling in the wind and there is a deer to your left grazing on the sweet grass. Suddenly, he pauses from grazing for a moment to meet your gaze. He sees you and you look back at him, but you do not really see him. You are physically present, yes, but mentally, you are a thousand miles away. In fact, it is almost as if you are not really there at all. The reality is, you are far too preoccupied with the incessant intrusion of a multitude of thoughts coming and going so quickly that you cannot even begin to keep up with them.
Thoughts of impending deadlines to meet, the last verbal altercation with your loved one, analyzing your conversation with a friend from several weeks ago, oh and then you also have the pleasure of remembering that the hot water tank broke two days ago and needing replaced as soon as possible are instead what occupies your mind. You feel as though you cannot control any single thought and you begin to feel a migraine coming on. Instead of taking the time to appreciate the encounter with nature, the sun’s rays warming your skin and the cardinal perched in the tree, you are too frustrated and distracted to even take note of any of it.
In the following article, we are going to explore the concept of mindfulness and how to practice simple yet effective mindfulness meditation anxiety exercises.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something or by focusing one’s attention on the present moment that can produce a therapeutic effect.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Sure, until your phone starts buzzing while you are trying to eat dinner and simultaneously watch America’s Got Talent. These things can and should wait.
In modern-day society and with the help of modern technology, it is quite easy to see how easily distracted we can become. What so and so said on Facebook about this and that should not always be of importance however. I am sure we are all too familiar with, ‘sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses’. That is what mindfulness. Deliberately pressing ‘pause’ on all worries and impending obligations to just truly enjoy and absorb the present moment because what matters is what is going on right here and now.
By constantly acknowledging the copious amount of stressors and worries that plague our minds daily, we are preventing ourselves from enjoying the little things in life. That dark chocolate raspberry truffle you just ate? It was good? Yes, but did you really stop to observe the texture, the velvety decadence, the tartness of the raspberry and the slight bitterness of the cocoa as you bit into it or were you too busy checking for Twitter updates or checking in on your favorite sports team to notice? Even simply by stopping to appreciate and observe life’s simple pleasures, we better equip ourselves to tackle adversities one step at a time with a rational approach.
If we do not ever take the time to stop and smell the roses, how can we ever expect ourselves to rationally approach virtually anything? As a result, we will just load more on our plate than we can possibly handle at one time and life is not an all you can eat buffet so we mustn’t create even more problems and worries. Overthinking is arguably similar to loading up on mini cheesecake bites after downing three plates of pizza and bacon cheeseburgers. There is such thing as too much and we are not physically as well as psychologically able to handle it when things become ‘too much’.
Practicing mindfulness and mindfulness exercises can help to alleviate these incessant worries and they can also teach you how to give your full and undivided attention to one thing at a time. We spend our entire lives moving so quickly, simultaneously tackling a variety of tasks until we find ourselves mentally and physically exhausted. Life truly is beautiful and amazing and these are things which we must never forget and taking the time to enjoy the simple pleasures make it all the more beautiful.
Mindfulness techniques: How can I practice being in the ‘here and now’?
Deliberately giving your full and undivided attention to the ‘here and now’ is truly and simply the most effective way to practice being mindful. What are you doing? Take a moment to observe and take in your surroundings. Scrutinize every detail, even the seemingly insignificant ones. Even if what you are doing is not particularly exciting or entertaining, it is still crucial that you give the task or activity your utter and complete undivided attention. Don’t worry about what bills are due when or contemplating what it was your supervisor wanted to talk with you about. It is not of importance because it has yet to happen.
You can even practice this when doing even the more mundane activities such as brushing your teeth, walking the several blocks from the parking garage to the office or stepping outside for just a moment while dinner is cooking.
Meditation is also a highly effective mindfulness technique. Practiced in Eastern cultures and various cultures around the world, meditation is a way where one can attain a sense of solace and peacefulness. Of course we cannot all expect to become Buddha by lighting a few candles and listening to the sounds of the ocean on our smart phones, but it truly is effective in precipitating that utter and profound sense of calmness.
Life is a series of moments built up into countless experiences, but it is only an experience if we truly experience it. The moment is all we truly have so why would you want to miss it and deny yourself the experience? That being said, it is often not intentional and we do understand how difficult it is to even temporarily forsake life’s obligations and as a result, another moment slips away. Of course, like with virtually all things in life, it is far easier said than done and practice makes perfect, but sometimes you need a little guidance in finding your way. If you contact us, we can help you to become more conscious and aware of the ‘here and now’ because all that matters is what is going on right here and now.