An Introduction to Mindfullness
Be mindful. A mantra we often hear, but rarely ponder the meaning of. Mindfulness is more than a trend sweeping the tabloids— it’s a lifestyle practice that has been used for thousands of years to center the focus of the mind and find inner peace and happiness. For those who read our post on simple meditation, you know already that mental health is just as important, if not more so, than physical health. How you feel on the outside is a direct function of how you feel on the inside— and mindfulness is a practice that aims to help you feel your best in all realms.
Essentially, mindfulness is a form of meditation in which one practices awareness without judgment. It can be as simple or as in-depth as you care to take it. The general focus of mindfulness is to allow yourself to fully experience each moment— sensation, emotion, thought— as it happens, and to take it at surface value. Don’t criticize yourself for feeling or thinking something; rather, let yourself think and feel as you do and then, when the moment passes, move on to the next with the same open mentality.
Those who practice mindfulness regularly have reported better sleep, an improvement in gastrointestinal issues, reduced stress levels, betterments in their social relationships, and reduced anxiety and depression; among others. The key to resolving or improving these circumstances lies in one key factor: focus. Focusing on one task or moment at a time, and taking it as it comes, allows you to come out on top with a better grasp on what just happened— and you’ll feel much happier, as you’ll feel more in control of what’s important to you.
We urge you to take up the practice of mindfulness in your everyday lives. There are small ways to start out:
- Meditate daily for increments of 5 minutes. Resting your mind and pushing thoughts out is a difficult task for many, so begin with a small amount of time, working your way to a longer duration each day.
- Push out judgment and let every other thought come naturally: You are a human being and you are allowed to have thoughts and emotions. Your mind is your haven. Take each feeling, each thought as it enters your mind; acknowledge it without judging yourself for letting it exist; and then let it pass naturally.
- Focus on one thing at a time and fully experience the moment. We spend so much time trying to get things done as quickly as possible, so we multi-task, creating a sense of urgency and putting pressure on ourselves. Multi-tasking takes our undivided attention away from each task we try to complete— so the more we try to do at once, the more divided our efforts become. You cannot say that you put 100% into something if you did it while trying to accomplish another task at the same time. Start with small tasks, like brushing your teeth or hair: Notice the sounds and the feelings that come along with the actions, allowing yourself to experience it all completely.
No matter who you are or where you are in life, we truly believe that taking the practice of mindfulness into your own daily routine will benefit you immensely. Practicing mindfulness in all realms of your life, including your workouts, is a great way to feel happier and more alive as you learn to live in the moment. We wish you luck!