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“Mindfulness” is a word that crops up a lot in conversations these days.
It seems to have become a new buzzword of sorts. While many lead their lives with mindfulness, others are confused about what it really is and how to have a mindful existence.
People talk about mindful living and how it can transform lives. However, not many follow it. This is probably because they think it is complicated or one has to give up on a lot of things in life or makes life serious and boring.
Contrary to these beliefs, mindfulness is an approach to living that can make life interesting and exciting.
What is mindfulness?
Simply put, mindfulness means living in the present moment. In other words, being aware of our surroundings and what is happening around us every moment. This is possible only when we do not worry about the impending future or live in our past. This approach to life seems a little far-fetched to many.
Some argue, “You don’t know what I have been through. It is not possible for me to forget my past!” or, “How can I live without thinking about my future or planning for it?”
Mindful living is not about forgetting our past but learning from our past and empowering ourselves. Of course, we cannot wipe out past memories, but we don’t need to relive them—instead, we can learn from them and use our learnings to manage our present.
As for the future, if we give 100 percent to our present, our future is taken care of.
For those whose past was wonderful and their present situation is tough, the thought process is “those were the days!” And if you were to go back into the past of the good old days, you might find that even at that time you might not have been living in the present. For instance, as a grown-up, you might reminisce about your school days and feel you had an amazing life back then. However, when you were actually in school, you might have been imagining how life will be once you are done with your exams and are a grown-up!
There are so many who have made it a habit to constantly worry about the future. They keep thinking, rather “overthinking,” and planning for an unpredictable future. This habit of worrying impacts their health and quality of life. Unfortunately, by living in a state of worry, such people are messing up their future by making themselves physically, emotionally, and mentally unfit for what’s coming.
What we need to understand is that the past is gone, never to come back, however good or bad it was! And the future is yet to come and is unpredictable. What we have in our hands is the present.
Our “present” is a gift sent from the heavens. We need to hold on to it and savor it.
If we take care of our present by learning lessons from our past, we are empowering ourselves for our future.
Here are the three main areas we need to focus on in our present:
1. Health. Physical, emotional, and mental health are all vital aspects of our being. If we manage them in our present situation, we will be able to take on the future easily.
2. Finances. Money is required for a comfortable life. Most of us realize that. But how much money is enough money? Money can become a driving force in our lives, making us develop greed. Use your money wisely and remember to set aside some for the “rainy days.” We never know when it will come, and we should not find ourselves in difficulty. However, we should be careful to not set so much aside that we compromise the comforts of our present life.
3. Relationships. Many of us get so obsessed with achieving our goals or get busy with our chores that our relationships take a back seat. Man is a social animal, and we need people in both good times and bad. So make sure to identify the people who matter in your life and invest your time and energy in those relationships. In case we face difficulties in life, we will need someone by our side, and if we are successful, we will need someone to celebrate with.
Investing in these three factors makes our present and future beautiful.
Mindful living is all about living a life of awareness, being conscious about what we do, speak, and think.
Here are some tips to practice mindfulness:
1. Declutter your mind. Mindful living begins by clearing your mind. You can declutter your mind by reducing the intake of unnecessary information. This may be data received from media and social media or unnecessary chatter.
2. Don’t start your day with your smartphone. Many people have a habit of starting their day by checking their WhatsApp chats. Early morning is the time when our mind is fresh and receptive. So give it positive information.
3. Physical exercise. Physical exercise is a must for people of all ages. It helps improve blood circulation and release several chemicals that refresh your system internally. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous; it can be a game we enjoy or a walk in the open.
4. Practice meditation. Meditating every day helps calm the mind and slow down the pace of our thoughts. This improves our state of mind and helps us focus on our present situation. Many people try meditation and feel they are unable to focus, so they give up. Meditation is something that takes time to learn; the point is to not give up! If you are consistent, you will be able to achieve the state of calmness you aspire to have. And what many people are unaware of is that whether we reach stillness or not, the pace of our thoughts reduces every time we meditate. Consistency is the key.
5. Observe your breath. One thing that I have found helpful is observing my breath when sitting in silence. This also helps distract the mind from nonstop thinking. Practicing deep breathing also helps refresh the system.
6. Focus on your present activities. Give 100 percent attention to whatever task you take up. When you focus on your task, not only your productivity enhances but also helps you focus on your present. For instance, if you are talking to someone, give them your complete attention. This is one example of being mindful of your surroundings.
7. Practice gratefulness. Many people find it difficult to focus on their present because they are constantly worrying. Starting our day by practicing gratitude minimizes negative thoughts and worrying. This is because our train of thoughts shifts from lack to abundance when we express gratitude.
Try these tips to get started on practicing mindfulness and see how your life will transform.
All these tips come from my personal experience. I was leading a life where I always felt stressed. When I adopted mindfulness, my world changed. It feels as if a burden is off my mind now.
I am happier and my creativity has become boundless. I’m doing things I have never imagined doing.
I started my own company, I wrote and published five books in one year, and I started designing my clothes.