AN ANCIENT PRACTICE THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE FUNDAMENTALLY AT THE VERY CORE
Mindfulness is the process of bringing one’s attention to the present moment. It can be attained through the practice of meditation.
Explained simply, it is the art of being in the present moment, and not being engulfed in worry or focused on one’s problems/pain. Too often, our mind takes us away from our reality and into a chain of thoughts that are either about the guilt of our past or the fear of the future. This greatly impacts our ability to give our best to the task at hand and live life at its fullest.
When we meditate, our mind moves to the present and regains the ability to experience the world as it is, rather than what we imagine it to be. This helps reduce anxiety and worry.
A few things to know about meditation:
1. It has proven scientific benefits: A number of studies across the world have shown the benefit of mindfulness on health, work and relationships.
2. It can be practiced by anyone: You don’t need to belong to a particular school of thought or religion to practice mindfulness. It is beneficial for people of every age and every race.
3. It’s a way of life: Mindfulness is not just a practice, it’s the art of living in a way that maximizes joy and awareness. Choosing to let go of stress and not let it control our lives is a conscious decision.
The easiest way to practice mindfulness is to focus on the breath. Just breathe slowly and focus on the inhalation and exhalation of breath.
Simply observe each breath with a gentle focus. As you do so, you may find that your mind wanders, distracted by thoughts or bodily sensations. That’s okay. Just notice that this is happening and gently bring your attention back to your breath. Here are the steps below:
1. Set a timer (optional): If you wish, you may set a timer for 5-7 minutes as per your wish. This will keep your mind free of tracking the time.
2. Sit in a calm and comfortable place and position: You can sit on the floor or on a chair. Keep your back straight but not tense. Hands can be placed wherever they’re comfortable.
3. Relax and be aware of your body: Try to notice the build of your body, its weight. Relax any areas of tightness or tension. Just breathe.
4. Tune into your breath: Experience the flow of breath, in and out. Notice where you feel your breath in your body. It might be in your abdomen. It may be in your chest or throat or in your nostrils. Just observe the movement of air in your system.
5. Be gentle with your wandering mind: You may notice that your mind starts to wander. You may start thinking about your problems. If this happens, it is okay. It’s very natural. Just notice that your mind has wandered.
Just very calmly, without getting irritated, get your attention back to your breath.
6. Stay here for five to seven minutes: Be aware of and observe your breath calmly. From time to time, you may get lost in thought, that’s okay; just return to your breath.
7. Thank yourself: Thank yourself for doing this, and make sure to make it a part of your daily routine.
Mindfulness has changed many lives across the globe and has been adopted in various forms. The trick to get benefits is to start small and be consistent with the practice.