Most of us are thinking about the future or the past, while creating feelings of regret and worry in the process. Rarely do we focus only on the present moment without thinking about anything beyond right here and right now. However, if we did just that, kept the focus of our attention on the now, we would be much happier. This is ancient wisdom can be tapped into through the practice of mindfulness – being present here and now, with full awareness, without being overpowered wandering thoughts and feelings.
The practice of mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular as the pace of modern day to day life is speeding up leaving us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. There are good reasons for this: it reduces stress and anxiety, and even eliminates all symptoms when mindfulness exercises are practiced regularly. It regulates blood pressure and our heart rate, and it even beneficial for respiratory issues. All in all, mindfulness is good for our mental, emotional and physical health.
That is why mindfulness is being taught in many evening courses, at community colleges under specialized education courses like a comprehensive diploma in disability, at various meditation schools and there is a rising tendency to include the practice in the public school curriculum as well. Even if you don’t attend any of these courses, you can still practice mindfulness every day very easily.
Focus On Your Breath
Anyone can do this very easily, all you need to do is focus on your breath and follow it through as the air flows through your body and out. Focus, breathe out, pause for a second and then take a breath in. Make the breaths deep and long so your brain can get more oxygen, and sit upright if possible, with a straight relaxed spine. Follow your in-breaths and out-breaths for as long as you can without wandering off thought. This simple exercise will calm down your central nervous system and let the brain’s neurotransmitters self-regulate, improving our mood.
Focus Your Attention On Objects Around You
Another simple exercise is to identify and name the properties and characteristics of the things around you, everyday objects, things on the street and out in the nature. You can focus on colours, smells, shapes, materials and so on. For example, while sitting in your room, take a moment to bring your attention to the objects around you and simply name all the colours that you see or look for things that have similar colours. There are many possibilities. You can pick one object at a time and describe all its properties, for example: “This desk is wooden, its surface is smooth, it is brown and rather big.” The more specific details you outline, the better.
Identify Nearby And Far Away Sounds
Sit down and focus your attention on all the sounds coming from your surroundings. At first there might be nothing, but you will be surprised at how many sounds that start to arise if you remain still and keep listening for them. You might first notice the sounds of cars passing by, distant traffic, wind in the trees, rain on the window sill, birds chirping in the trees outside, children playing, or even neighbours talking. There are also sounds coming from yourself, like the sound of your breath, the sound your belly makes as it expands rubbing against your clothes or the chair you sit on.
It is important to remember you can get out of the stress-mode quickly by just switching your attention to a simple mindfulness practice. You won’t be an expert immediately, but practice makes perfect, and soon enough you will have control over your mind and your state of wellbeing. Be here now, you can do it!
Emma Lawson is trying to live her life according to nature. She is a health enthusiast, sharing knowledge and valuable information to those who care. After finishing a health care course at Royal Rehab College, Emma now wants to give something in return. You can follow her on Twitter @EmmahLawson.