From Deborah King, Author & Wellness Coach.
When is the last time you caught yourself being forgetful and just not paying attention? Is it possible that you zone out, lose your keys, forget a pan on the burner, or travel way past your exit out of pure self-defense? Today’s world makes such overwhelming demands on your time, attention, presence, participation, consideration, concern, and resources that maybe you shut down to protect what remains of your sanity! Fortunately, there’s a more pro-active approach that can help you chill at will. Why wait for overload to happen? Build a peace garden in your head and heart with some healing mindfulness actions you can take each day.
Mindfulness is simply the ability to live in the here and now, to be present, awake and aware in the present moment. When you are being mindful you are clearing away distractions, learning to focus your energy, getting clearer on what you want from life, and creating a peaceful space that actually helps you be more efficient and effective.
Being mindful can help you face your emotional ebb and flow and decide in what ways your emotions are hindering or healing you. You can learn to make choices that center and calm you and move you in the direction of joy, harmony, and loving contribution to the world. You can make peace with uncertainty and change in the world while honoring the unchanging space within. If this sounds good, here are some mindfulness steps you can begin right away:
Wouldn’t you agree that eating is one of life’s great pleasures? Ask yourself if you are making the most of it by choosing healthy, delicious food and taking time to enjoy each bite, savoring the tastes and textures. Eating too much and eating too fast, without joy, won’t happen when you pay loving attention to your body’s messages. Being present in the moment while you eat may feel like a whole new relaxing and satisfying experience to be truly grateful for!
Do daily tasks with a mindful eye.
Lots of things you do each day from brushing your teeth to taking out the trash are so routine you don’t even think about them as they happen. But what if you began to pay attention to the movements, the feelings, the sights, the sounds, and scents of them? What would it feel like to put on your shoes mindfully? Think of what you might discover about your life from being aware and paying attention to the moments you experience each day. What if you really looked at the objects that surround you, the things you live with but never notice? You might discover amazing beauty!
Be mindful of nature.
You almost can’t avoid a lovely rush of mindfulness in the natural world. Taking a walk in the woods or along the beach, looking into the distance from a mountain top, watching a golden dawn or a rosy sunset, listening to a rushing stream or the sound of wind in the treetops—these experiences pull you effortlessly into the present moment. Even if you can only go as far as the neighborhood park, you’ll find the open air and sky, the trees, the birds, and grass provide a soothing peace. Just walk and feel your legs carrying you and your feet making contact with Mother Earth.
Connect mindfully with others.
There’s so much room for growing your present moment awareness as you meet, work with, live with, and listen to your fellow humans. Even as technology provides more ways to connect with others, it also causes increasing isolation. How much time do you spend looking at a screen instead of into someone’s eyes? In our noisy world, you may have trained yourself to listen less in order to tune out distraction. Use your mindfulness to be sure you still have your listening power when you need it. Nothing says “I love you” like being in the present moment with another and truly hearing and seeing them.
Learn to meditate.
What you’ve heard about meditation is really true. It is the undisputed superhighway to mindfulness, calm, and inner peace. Plentiful research has confirmed its physical and mental health benefits. Not a religion or even a philosophy, meditation is a technique for calming the mind, reducing stress and anxiety, getting enough energy to banish fatigue, and balancing the mind and body. It’s not necessary to sit down to meditate with the goal of ultimate enlightenment. But if you are spiritually inclined, meditation will open you up to a greater connection to Spirit, to clearer inner guidance, and a deep sense of peace. Along with developing a solid grounding in mindfulness, with meditation you can learn to cultivate compassion — for yourself and others!
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