Mindfulness; it’s a word we’ve been hearing all over the place these days. But what exactly is mindfulness and how can it be achieved. Well, the good news is, that it can be achieved in many different ways and the best definition for mindfulness is being fully present in the moment. It is a gentle focus on what is going on now. It is like washing the dishes and paying attention to the task at hand instead of thinking about next week’s work schedule.
Still, it’s an elusive term, but living each moment in the NOW is the best way to explain it. Does it sound like an impossible task, if so, you are not alone in that thinking. However, you can tap into a small bit of mindfulness at least once a day with a few learned techniques. If you can make a schedule of setting aside a special time for mindfulness, research says it will change the way you spend the rest of your day. You will find more ease entering into your day.
Dr. James E. Stahl and his research team at Harvard University did a study with volunteers for 8 weeks.The study was called the Mind Body Relaxation Program. In this program students learned many mind/body skills for relaxation and mindfulness. Dr. Stahl teaches these same skills to the patients in his practice. He believes that no one needs to enroll in any formal program, but that in 15 minutes a day, on a continual basis, these skills will come to us naturally.
Practice a 15 minute guided meditation at the end of your day. There are many videos online from which you can choose. Guided meditations, where a voice walks you through the meditation process, is great for beginners who have trouble controlling their random thoughts.
You can also find a lot of apps for guided meditations on your phone’s app store. This is a way for you to remember when it’s time for you to stop, relax, and be in the NOW for a few moments. They key here, like with all meditations, is consistency.
The Sun Salutation is a morning yoga ritual that is perfect for getting the day started in the right direction. There are also many videos and books out there that will teach you the sun salutation series of yoga moves in minutes.
Check in with yourself every couple of hours a day. Realize and experience truly what you are doing. Some people drive home from work and they never remember the actual drive. Before they know it, they are home. This is called functioning by rote memory. In the mindfulness world, this means that you are functioning as a robot and not paying attention to your actions.
Don’t become stressed over how you will do, this is just the opposite of mindfulness, to relieve daily stress. Instead, take it easy, choose the right method for yourself and make it something enjoyable for you. If you don’t make it enjoyable, you may not stick with it, and you must do that to receive all of the benefits mindfulness can bring.