Mindfulness = Focus
Meditation is a practice of mindfulness | Written By: Peggy Gaines, RN
Put even more simply, mindfulness means “paying attention” to yourself and your surroundings. When we are mindful, we focus on what is going on right at this moment instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.
When we pay attention to our breath, our body and our mantra, we experience stillness in a profound way that nourishes the soul. Ultimately, we want to be able to take that mindfulness into our daily lives so we can fully experience each and every moment!
Often, my clients say they don’t find it difficult to be meditative when they’re sitting in their quiet living room. It’s when they get get to work and the phone won’t stop ringing and the emails keep pouring in that they lose touch with the wonderful connection they felt earlier.
How to Bring Stillness into Your Daily Life
There are many ways to bring our mindfulness into our day-to-day lives, no matter how hectic or frazzling it may feel.
It can be as simple as just paying attention when you’re taking a shower in the morning. Instead of thinking about all the things you have to do that day, just enjoy the warm water flowing down your back. Enjoy the massage you give yourself as you shampoo your hair.
Take that mindfulness to breakfast. Hold your mug of coffee or tea and feel the warmth of the liquid as it heats the ceramic cup. Smell the aroma of your beverage like a wine lover would smell wine: enjoy the color, the unique fragrance and then relish the first sip as it bathes your tongue in the delicious taste.
Isn’t it wonderful to appreciate the little things like this? How lucky are we that we get to enjoy physical sensation?
Take a Moment to Notice
This appreciation for the moment can carry on into your workday. We have so many things going on that many times our life is just a blur… this meeting is coming up, that phone call is late, this text is coming in and that other person needs to speak with you urgently. Yikes!
When we don’t take the time to notice our surroundings and appreciate them, we race down a tunnel of busy-ness that leads to exhaustion, chronic stress and illness at the end.
Through your day, take a moment to notice the little things. Notice how refreshing the morning breeze feels against your face as you walk from your car to the office building. Notice the way the sunlight creates a lacy shadow on the sidewalk as it streams through the tree limbs. Notice how beautiful the clouds are in the sky outside your office window and how slowly they drift across the sky.
That simple act of noticing will morph into appreciation and the appreciation will gradually change to a feeling of gratitude. When you notice the little things in your life, you’ll find yourself naturally becoming grateful for them. I’ve seen it happen time and time again with my clients! The more they notice the wonderful little things in their lives, the easier they’re able to replenish their metaphorical bucket with positive emotion and not feel depleted even when they give and give and give.
Stop. Notice. Go.
David Steindl-Rast is an incredible Benedictine monk and speaker who recently gave a Ted Talk about gratitude, which over 5 million people saw.
David distills this concept of mindfulness into three extremely simple steps:
Essentially, he’s telling us that we don’t have to sit down in the lotus pose for hours in order to feel appreciation. We just have to stop, to notice and then keep going about our day.
This simple act will turn your day around. In fact, consider setting a timer on your phone that will go off every hour to remind you to stop, notice and go.
Try this for a day and see how you feel as you prepare for bed. I believe you will experience a wonderful sensation of inner stillness and contentedness.
If you’re ready to learn more about meditation, click HERE to get more information.