“Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” - Marsha Lucas
We live in a fast-paced world where we must divide our attention and energy in many different directions, often away from ourselves. Mindfulness allows us the opportunity to direct our energy towards the present moment and help take us off “auto-pilot”.
By being intune with the present moment, we are able to pull ourselves out of negative emotional spirals and obsessive thinking. With a clearer mind we have the space to then process our emotions and experiences, put various events into perspective, and build resilience when facing stressors in our lives.
While there are many practices of mindfulness in our lives, learning to be more present is an intentional way of living life, one we must cultivate constantly.
It is extremely common for a meal to become your second point of focus while eating. Whether it is scrolling through your phone, driving, or watching TV, multitasking while eating contributes to issues such as overeating, consuming too much sugar, and disrupting digestive health.
Be present with your food by putting down your phone and eating slowly, savoring each bite. Your body will constantly send you signals of what it needs and when it is time to stop eating - listen. When you’re more intune with the signals of your body, you will be able to fuel your body with the proper nutrition it needs, support digestive health, and promote mind-body health overall.
Learning to be mindful in a relationship involves knowing how to share your energy and how to preserve it.
When interacting with someone who is important in your life, whether it be family, a friend, or colleagues, it is important to not just “tune-out”, but instead, stay present. While communicating, make sure they have your undivided attention by listening carefully with a non-judgmental mind. Seek to hear and understand their perspective, instead of waiting for them to finish only to react defensively.
When interacting with someone who is only trying to hurt you or belittle you, remember to protect your energy. Do not humor their negativity by feeding them with your attention. Being present in how you feel and the situation allows you the opportunity to create boundaries, remove yourself from hurtful situations, and respond in a way that respects your mental well-being.
A lack of mindfulness creates those common moments where you forget where you just put your keys or why you walked into a room. We all have a lot going on in our minds that take us away from the present and what we are actually doing.
Thankfully, there are multiple opportunities to become more mindful in our actions by simply going about our day with a heightened awareness. A heightened awareness means you are focused on the present moment, tuned in to physical sensations, moving intentionally, and not ruminating over thoughts of the future or past.
Something as simple as washing dishes can be an opportunity to be mindful. Feel the warmth of the water on your hands, observe how the dishes become clean, and enjoy the feeling of being productive and creating a clean environment.
No matter when you choose to make that extra effort, if you feel your mind wandering, notice that kindly and gently bring your attention back to the present.
Living mindfully takes constant self-control and effort, especially when our attention is constantly pulled in different directions. With practice and patience, we can become more present, feel less stressed, have more meaningful relationships, and cultivate overall mind-body wellness.