Be Mindful, Clear Out Mental Clutter, Reduce Stress
Posted Oct 20 2008 11:50pm
Do you take time daily to be “mindful?” Or, do your thoughts drag you up and down and around from panic to apathy to anxiety to fear to happiness to fear to excitement to shame to panic to blame to the past to the future to . . .
Our thoughts are programmed mirrors and echos of the world around us. Very few people take the time to be mindful, choose the flow of their thoughts and emotions, and to ultimately, not ”think” at all. This is heaven.
WHAT DOES BEING MINDFUL MEAN?
Mindfulness consists of paying attention to the present moment, the experience from moment to moment — without drifting and lurching into thoughts of the past or concerns about the future, or getting caught up in our “thoughts”, judgements, opinions or decision-making (which take the mind away from the moment) about what’s going on.
Our minds are always “on” unless we choose to control our thoughts, or are focused on something that “takes our attention.” When you are watching TV, driving, watching a sunset or sunrise, gardening, working physically hard, playing, enjoying a hobby or activity you love, watching animals, pets or children be “innocently in the moment” or laughing about something, your mind is quiet and focused - in the moment - and mindful.
HOW TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
1) One easy way to practice mindfulness is through meditation. Sitting or lying down quietly for 20 or 30 minutes, once or twice a day choosing to focus your thoughts, relax your thoughts, into the moment of now is meditating, and if mindful.
2) Out driving? Simply pay attention to your breathing or your environment when you stop at red lights.
3) Take some “mindful breaths” before you go to sleep, putting a hault to mental clutter from the day.
4) When you awaken, don’t let your mind kick up the dust and anxiety about your day and schedule, worries and concerns (the future). Instead direct your attention again to the moment, to your breathing.
5) Choose a task that you normally find inconvenient or do impatiently, or even do unconsciously, like standing in line, waiting at an appointment or brushing your teeth, and just concentrate on the experience in the now. No judgment, no stress, no blame, just breathe in and out and hear it, feel it, experience life itself in and through you.
6) Use routine daily occurances, like answering the phone, going to the restroom, buckling your seatbelt and such as an anchor and reminder to return to the present. In that moment think about what you’re doing and observe yourself doing it.
7) Being mindful is understanding that now is all there is. And what is, is happening, no matter what is happening. Again, no judgment, shoulds, blame or shame. Let go of the struggle of trying to fix or change “it.” Just stay in “is.”
We’re used to our thoughts taking us away from being here and now. Our minds jump all over in seconds to the past and the future, fear, panic, anxiety, worry, hope, anticipation, let down, etc. etc. When we’re in the past or future we are a prisoner of our thoughts. Our bodies wear down under the adrenaline jolts we create day in and day out. Choosing mindfulness is choosing to point yourself, your mind and thoughts - and so your mind/body - in the direction of being aware of the present moment.
Mindfulness is a practice of letting go of mental chaos to become the observer of your thoughts and of the now. Back to all that really exists, the here and now, the present. Yourpresent to yourself!
BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS
The ancients and tribes knew the value of meditation and mindfulness, but it has been lost to most of the modern world. Plenty is written on it in practices such as Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, meditation and other healing, wellness and spirituality practices.
What is truly lost is that it should be part of our everyday lives, practicing it so that it becomes our everyday life! There is more and more scientific evidence that mindfulness can increase life enjoyment, improve the ability to cope with illness, improve physical and emotional health, healing dis-ease as well as smoking cessation programs and everyday stress.
So, today choose from the list above and be mindful. Make your mind FULL of what is the best now there is, right now.