“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” – Amit Ray
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the non-judgmental observation of your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. A wonderful definition of mindfulness comes from Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and author of the timeless classic, Wherever You Go, There You Are. Dr. Kabat-Zinn explains that mindfulness is, “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”
If you’re wondering what that means, you’re not alone. As Dr. Michael Baime, creator of the Penn Program for Mindfulness says, “Trying to understand mindfulness by its definition is like trying to understand what it is like to fall in love by reading a textbook. You might get a general idea, but you’d be missing out on the best part: what it actually feels like. Mindfulness is all about experience, about the actual aliveness, of each moment. You learn to pay attention on purpose, in the present moment, not because someone said that it would be a good thing to do, but because that is where you find your life.”
How to Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness practice asks you to keep your awareness in the here and now, to devote your full attention to the current experience. It’s the opposite of multitasking. Instead of drowning in a frazzled attempt to juggle several thoughts or tasks at once, the goal is to be completely immersed and aware in whatever it is you are doing in the moment.
You can develop mindfulness by simply devoting your undivided attention to your everyday experiences. Simply remain focused on whatever it is you’re doing – breathing, eating, washing the dishes or making love. The whole point is to be totally present with whatever you are engaged in.
Here are 7 Tips to Being More Mindful Now!
- Simply become aware of your breath and the rise and fall of your belly.
- Tune in to what you are doing right now. Try to become aware of your senses, what does the room look like, how does your body feel, what colors, textures and smells surround you?
- The next time you take a walk tune into the sensations of how your weight shifts from one foot to the other. Pay attention to how your body feels.
- Resist the urge to multi-task. You might be surprised at how much more effective you are when you devote your full attention to one thing at a time.
- Understand that thoughts are just thoughts. You don’t have to believe or react to them!
- Turn off the auto-pilot and wake up to what you’re doing! Whether you’re driving, emailing, texting, feeding the dog, brushing teeth or doing the dishes, try bringing more awareness to your daily activities.
- Reconnect with nature. Connecting with nature enhances your well-being and nurtures mindfulness.
You might begin practicing mindfulness for stress reduction, pain management or even weight control. After a while you will find that the effects extend to other areas of your life. You will naturally make better choices and be more compassionate. Mindfulness may transform your entire life.
Mindfulness is simple even if mastering it isn’t. This kind of focused attention is like a muscle; at first it’s weak, you get distracted and then have to remind yourself to return to awareness. Eventually, your attention will get into shape and you’ll discover that you are happiest when centered in the present moment.
Michelle Corey, C.N.W.C., FMC, is a Wellness Recovery Specialist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, researcher and author. Michelle studied holistic nutrition at Clayton College of Natural Health and completed a comprehensive 2-year practical program at Academy of Functional Medicine and Genomics. Since reversing her autoimmune condition, Michelle has helped hundreds of people reverse autoimmune and other chronic conditions. She is currently an advisor to the Academy of Functional Medicine and Genomics and the Functional Medical University. She is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants. Michelle and offers Functional Mind-Body healing retreats, workshops and online courses.
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