When is the last time you have done one thing at a time? We live in a society that celebrates the art of multitasking. We seem to believe that we would be wasting time to complete one task before we begin another. We talk on cell phones while we drive and text during meetings. Are we really getting anything done or are we spreading ourselves too thin and leaving ourselves open to burnout?
Living mindfully means purposefully keeping ourselves in the present moment, and observing what we are feeling and experiencing without judgment. Only when we are actively living in the present can we fully understand and control what we are feeling and what we are doing. Living mindfully takes practice!
What is the purpose of Mindfulness Practice?
Practicing to live mindfully gives us the opportunity to slow ourselves down and check in. It allows us the time to stop and observe what we are feeling, without judgment, something that we rarely do. We are taught that we are supposed to multi task and that it does not matter how we feel. This is dangerous because it leaves us open to become easily overwhelmed by emotions such as anger, frustration, hurt and envy.
What does it mean to observe without judgment?
We tend to be the hardest on ourselves. We are our toughest critics. When you begin to practice mindfulness, you will start to see just how often you multi-task. You will recognize how often you are not in the moment but in the past or the future. The difficult thing to do is notice where you are and what you are thinking about and return to the present. You are not wrong or bad for the thoughts or memories you are having, you are just not in the moment. That is why we practice!
How do you practice Mindfulness?
Anything can be done mindfully, even brushing your teeth. Take a moment and notice how many things you are doing the next time you brush your teeth. Are you planning your day? Thinking about a cup of coffee or tea? Worried about getting out on time? Then you are not practicing mindfulness. Stay in the moment and simply brush your teeth. When a thought comes across your mind, notice it, without judgment (it is not wrong, it just is) let it go and go back to brushing your teeth. Notice how easy or difficult this is to do. How hard do you tend to be on yourself?
Practicing mindfulness just for minutes each day can greatly improve your concentration and sense of well being. It allows you time to stop regroup and concentrate on the present. Begin incorporating mindfulness practice into your daily routine and see how it can change your life for the better.