When you’re reading a book, you’re fully immersed in its pages. Each word jumps out and captivates you.
Reading requires complete focus and concentration which can make it a very enjoyable activity. Avid readers are known to lose themselves in a book without a care in the world. Momentary or not, reading is a refresher; a reset.
Mindfulness is similar to reading a book. It’s a state where you’re fully present—mentally and physically. Imagine that you’re talking to a friend but your mind is wandering off to distant places. Or, if you’re in a business meeting and instead of focusing on what’s being said, you’re more concerned about something that’s happening at home. It brings complete awareness of who you are and what you’re doing. You’re in touch with your surroundings, the people you interact with and the activity you’re engaged in.
Practicing mindfulness can also help you connect with people, empathize with them and become a better friend and colleague.
It’s natural for human beings to be mindful. But sometimes our circumstances keep us from focusing on the present. It can be because of work-induced stress, an argument with a friend or general dissatisfaction with something in your life.
With mindfulness, you can overcome mental roadblocks and learn to see things in a positive light. No matter where you are right now, mindfulness will teach you how to find opportunities even in hard times.
What Is Mindfulness?
Given the uncertainties that we’re faced with almost every day—job insecurity, losing friends or family or financial difficulties—mindfulness can be your solace in hard times.
In addition to being aware of the present, mindfulness is about thinking objectively. It teaches us how to avoid judgment and be kind to ourselves. You may not be doing so well in life at the moment, but it doesn’t mean that you should beat yourself up. You’re allowed to feel sad, give in to your emotions and let out your frustrations from time to time.
The presence of mind needed to vent and release stress doesn’t come easily. Mindfulness can help you come to terms with life as it is. And once you do that, you can be happier and find life a lot more fulfilling.
Focusing on personal development and growth doesn’t mean you’re being selfish. You need to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others. It’s so important to understand that mindfulness is part of a journey to become a more compassionate and kind human being.
How To Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness is not just about sitting in a dark room and clearing your head of any thoughts. It’s an activity that takes days, months and sometimes years to perfect. You have to first understand why you need to be mindful before you begin to practice it in everyday life.
It works differently for everyone. You may find journaling to be your answer while someone else prefers daily meditation or yoga. The purpose is to center your mind and body to work as one. Here are some ways to practice mindfulness:
Many institutions like Harvard University run mindfulness and meditation classes that help people reflect on their experiences and where they are in life. It’s easy to miss out on important moments when you’re too focused on what you don’t have. Mindfulness meditation is a practice in self-reflection that brings you back to the present. You have a chance to cope with the stress of everyday life and enjoy the luxury of having a moment to yourself.
For many people, exercising is the best way to release stress and get rid of negative thoughts. When you’re working out, your body releases chemicals like serotonin and endorphins that help you think happy thoughts. They have the power to control your mood and take you from 0 to 100 in seconds. Many people work out for hours every day because they love the feeling they get afterward. Not only does this mindfulness activity help you sleep better but also keeps your thoughts from straying
Writing Your Thoughts
Journaling is another popular mindfulness exercise. If you search online, you’ll find hundreds of ideas on bullet journaling, journaling for relaxation or journaling for good mental health. Writing your thoughts is an effective way to process your feelings and emotions. Sometimes you may even want to write down a fleeting thought that crosses your mind. Journaling can help you keep tabs on how you’re doing. You can revisit some of your entries, assess whether you’ve grown or if there are things that you need to work on.
Practicing Daily Affirmations
What if the first thing you see when you wake up are words of encouragement? Words like ‘everything’s going to be okay’, ‘take a moment to breathe’ and ‘you got this’ can instantly lift your mood. If you’re feeling down and helpless, daily affirmations like these will help you get back on your feet. You can put up some daily affirmations in your work area, so you can glance at them from time to time. Some days, all you need is a kind word to help you get out of your own head.
Do Things You Love
There’s nothing wrong with living for yourself. If you’re reflecting on your actions and trying to find ways to be mindful, you’re making a conscious effort to be happy. It’s your right and responsibility (to yourself) to lead a happy life. Do things that spark joy in your life and you’ll slowly learn to appreciate each moment. Make plans to meet up with friends, spend time with your family and learn to spend time with yourself.
Benefits Of Mindfulness
If you want to live in the present, enjoy each moment and appreciate the people in your life, practicing mindfulness is the way to do it. There are many benefits of mindfulness but the most important one is being kind to yourself. That’s also the first step in any mindfulness exercise. Here are the key benefits of mindfulness:
According to research, mindfulness has many health benefits like reducing chronic pain and improving sleep cycles. A mindfulness activity like meditation and controlled breathing can help alleviate headaches and make you feel lighter. You can learn to practice breathing each morning to start your day on an active and healthy note. The more oxygen that reaches your brain, the better your performance throughout the day.
When you practice mindfulness, you sit and take note of everything you’re worried about. It’s like making a to-do list to organize different tasks you need to complete. Once you’ve taken stock of the situation, you can carefully start to solve each problem.
Learn Compassion And Kindness
Being mindful isn’t just for personal development, it’s also to appreciate those who are closest to you. Mindfulness teaches you how to be more compassionate and empathetic in life. When you’re in touch with your own feelings and emotions, you can learn to give others room to voice their thoughts. You’ll be able to understand the hidden meaning behind their words because sometimes we don’t say everything we want to.
Complete awareness of your surroundings helps you focus on the tasks at hand and boosts your energy to perform better. You’re able to get away from your thoughts, making you feel lighter and ready for a challenge. An early-morning yoga session is an effective mindfulness exercise to embrace the day.
Fewer Emotional Outbursts
Learn to stay calm even in the most frustrating situations. It’s easy to lose your temper when your food delivery is taking longer than expected or if your internet stops working in the middle of an important call. It’s especially helpful to practice mindfulness at work, where you have to tackle multiple things at once. With time, you’ll be able to control your emotions and think before you react to something.
Practicing mindfulness is critical for a better quality of life. Not only will you be able to understand your present self but also figure out where you’re headed. When you have a vision for the future, you’re able to plan better. It’s important for clarity of thought and a robust approach to life.
If you want to understand your motivations and what you’re passionate about, Harappa Education’s Discovering Purpose course is the right course for you. This course is aimed at professionals who want to succeed in their careers. With frameworks like The State of Flow, you’ll learn how to focus on your work by overcoming barriers to concentration. The Best Possible Self exercise is another helpful way to chart your path to success.
Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics related to the Lead habit such as Resilience, Humility, Patience vs Self-Control, Self-Motivation & What is the Purpose of Life and lead on a path of self-development.
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