“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.” - Eckhart Tolle
With today being the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite self-care tools that you can start incorporating into your life today. You may be familiar with the mindset: “I want it and I want it NOW!”
Today’s technology and media has trained us — by being able to search for anything and get instantaneously results — to expect those same quick results in our own lives. Impatience is the result. However, we have to work for our dreams and goals. We have to work for our results, which requires patience.
So how can we build our tolerance to this mindset and reclaim patience?
Mindfulness, or meditation, is the practice of being present in the moment, by tuning into your senses and surroundings. When you think about it, we are rarely in our present moment. We are constantly dwelling over the past, or thinking and worrying about the future. And when we actually are in the moment, we automatically look for distractions.
Our laptops, cell phones, TV, checking our e-mail, texting, writing, doing something. Being still and engaged in our present moment is the key to pave our way to honing in our patience. Practicing mindfulness also has numerous benefits to your health and well-being. It decreased anxiety, depression, worry, stress, and all the hormones and chemicals our body produces in reaction, and increases tolerance to them as well. It helps us let go of the past, reclaim out power, and fully engage in our lives and just BE.
Which is where happiness, gratitude, and contentment all live. To those of you who are familiar with how powerful the Mind-Body connection is, you know that a holistic tool that decreases the toxicity of stress in our body is invaluable. Mindfulness nourishes us not only mentally, but emotionally, physically, & spiritually.
Try to fit some mindfulness into your daily self-care habits. The results and difference will astound you. Below are 5 keys to Mastering Mindfulness.
Set an Intention.
Set some time aside for mindfulness. Whether it’s a few minutes in the morning, during meals, your drive to work, or before bed. Whatever time of day works best for you.
If you don’t set aside time for it, it will not happen, and you will get distracted with other things on your to-do list. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. Start small.
Remember you must train, instead of try. Note: if a time comes up where you have some free time; perhaps you are waiting in line at the store, or stuck in traffic, that is a perfect opportunity to practice and fit it in. “Do or do not. There is no try.” -Yoda
Let go of any preconceived notions of Mindfulness or Meditation.
Don’t forget that mindfulness and/or meditation doesn’t have to LOOK a certain way. You don’t have to be in downward dg on the floor in a room full of burning incense. You can make it your own. Lay down on your bed. In the shower. Driving in your car. Going on a walk. Eating a meal. You can pair it with almost any activity.
Let go of any judgements whether it will or will not work for you. That will only keep you stuck in your mind and thoughts and out of the present moment. If thought or distraction, or whatever comes up, that’s OKAY. Accept it. “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” - Eckhart Tolle
Master the deep breath.
Practice deep breathing by following the steps below. Take a deep breath in through your nose, while allowing your belly to rise and fill up. Hold for a moment. Then slowly breathe out through your mouth, allowing your belly to lower and fully exhale. Good.
Now keep practicing this breath, at least 10 more times. This is making sure your brain is getting the oxygen it needs to be able to function, think clearly, calm down, and tune into your rational, logical brain.
This should be your “go to” tool every time you are anxious, worried, overwhelmed, angry, and emotional. Remember your breath is the ONE thing you ALWAYS have to anchor yourself to the present. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Train your Brain!
When a thought comes up, notice it, don’t judge it, say “hey, thanks for the information”, and let it go. Tune your attention back to your breath or whatever you are presently focusing on.
That right up there ^ ^ is TRAINING your brain to tune back into the present after a distraction comes up. That in and of itself is the essence of what practicing mindfulness is! It is not perfect. It is not all or nothing. “Being must be felt. It can’t be thought.” - Eckhart Tolle
Remain Curious and Non Judgemental
Try not to judge yourself as you practice it or it takes away from the whole point and essence of mindfulness. This is another thing that takes much practice. When you notice a thought. Or feeling. Or body sensation. Allow it.
DON’T JUDGE IT. Remain curious and just notice it and say: “Oh, that’s interesting…” or “I’m noticing I’m feeling anxious, sad, lonely..and that’s OKAY. I can make room for this thought or feeling. I don’t have to give into it. I can just watch it and notice it. It’s just like an ocean wave coming in and out. It is not permanent. It is not a part of me.”
Whatever you are feeling or noticing, tell yourself that it is OKAY to feel what you’re feeling or have that thought. Don’t resist them. Mindfulness is the opposite of resistance. Detach yourself from all those things, like an outsider looking in. Remember: You are not your thoughts or feelings. You are the observer of your thoughts and feelings.
“Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
What do you think about Mindfulness? Have you tried it before? What about it did you like and not like? What challenges did you face? Do benefits did you notice?
Thank you in advance for reading, commenting and sharing with love, compassion and kindness. You help make our cozy corner of the world wide web an awesome place!