Remember feeling peace and serenity flowing through your body as if you were enjoying the most beautiful sunrise at the banks of a beautiful river? But then you suddenly realize that you were day-dreaming, in the middle of a busy day, with coffee machines making noises, people screaming, and your phone ringing for the hundredth time in the past hour.
Feeling stressed yet?
Finding peace and calm in a world where stress is abundant and ubiquitous feels like a far-fetched reality, an unattainable goal. Being stressed and feeling stressed is slowly becoming the new normal. People are forgetting that stress shouldn’t rule you; it shouldn’t become a habit, but instead, mindfulness should.
The essence of mindfulness
Mindfulness is not just the mental state characterized by full awareness and acceptance of the present moment; it extends beyond and involves paying complete attention to your thoughts, emotions, sensations, and surroundings.
Mindfulness allows you to build and nurture a relationship with yourself, your environment, and the world around you.
Simply put, mindfulness is about being awake and aware. It is not about eradicating stress or escaping life’s challenges; instead, it is about acknowledging what is happening within and around us without trying to change it and embracing it with calm.
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The core principles of mindfulness
Mindfulness is beyond meditation, it is a surreal experience. If you want to understand meditation, you need to understand the core principles of it:
- Present moment mindfulness: At its core, mindfulness encourages acceptance. By acknowledging the present moment without trying to change it – it brings us into reality. It is about understanding that the past is gone and the future is yet to come, but what we have is now.
- Non-judgmental acceptance: mindfulness involves accepting experiences, thoughts, and emotions without labeling them as good or bad. It’s about observing and understanding without criticism or analysis. The aim is to achieve a deeper understanding of oneself.
- Observing sensations, emotions, and thoughts: Observation with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding might get us entangled in the web of thoughts and emotions. With mindfulness, you gain insights into the patterns your mind follows.
Benefits of Mindfulness:
Mindfulness has benefits beyond feeling calm and destressed. A mindful way of living is one of the best ways of living. It allows you to stay in touch with yourself and listen to your body, your mind, and your heart. When you choose mindful living, you ensure your own happiness. Here are a few benefits of mindfulness:
- Physical benefits: mindfulness has been associated with reduced stress levels, lower blood pressure, improved immune system, and better sleep quality. It promotes overall physical well-being.
- Mental and emotional benefits: The practice of mindfulness is closely linked to reduced anxiety, and depression, and increased emotional stability. It instills a sense of inner peace and contentment.
- Improved relationships and empathy: Being mindful gives you clarity, which enhances your ability to understand and connect with others, fostering a better relationship both personally and professionally.
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The way to go
Now that you know the effects and importance of living a mindful life, you may be wondering What’s the way forward? How can I practice mindfulness? Should I just start meditating?
Here’s a beginner’s guide to mindfulness:
- Breathing exercises: One of the simplest and first steps to mindfulness practices involves focusing on your breath. Sit comfortably, preferably in a quiet space, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Notice and observe how it feels as you inhale… and exhale…
- Meditation: Lie down or sit comfortably in your space. Slowly focus your attention on each part of your body, from your toes to the top of your head. Try to notice any or all sensations or tensions and let go of them. Imagine as if you were scanning your body.
Additionally, you can follow courses like this one here. Courses guide you on the right path; they define your journey for you, and choosing the right course makes a lot of difference. United We Care’s self-paced course makes wellness available to you at your own pace.
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Mindfulness in everyday life:
- Mindfulness at work: In a work setting, take short breaks to practice mindfulness. This can include deep breathing, mindful listening, or a moment of gratitude for what you’ve achieved so far in the day.
- Mindful lifestyle: Eat food, enjoy food. Focus on the taste, be present, and appreciate your meal. Go for walks, connect with nature, and allow yourself time off of the screen.
- Mindfulness in relationships: Be fully present in your conversations; actively listen when in a conversation. Make sure you actually listen without forming replies in your mind.
The benefits of mindfulness are vast and extend to all aspects of life. As you embark on this journey, make sure you enjoy the peace and calm it brings you. Embrace the process as you get to learn deeply about yourself and start listening to your inner voice. Let mindfulness be your guide to a fulfilling life.
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