Mindfulness is the complete state awareness of the present moment. Easier said than done, right? How many of you would agree that we are either too focused on what we need to get done later in the day, tomorrow or next week or focused on something that happened a day, week or month, perhaps even years ago? The majority of the time, the human brain is either focused on the past or present and rarely do we make time and are even aware of what is going on in the present moment.
We are often pretty good at identifying physical symptoms in our body but we do take the time to make sense of the mental symptoms that goes on? Mental symptoms can include thoughts, worries, fears, irritability, and so on. Stress and time are usually causes of these mental symptoms. Being mindful means to focus on the present moment and to pay full attention to what is going on around you. Here is a simple mindful exercise that you can practice daily. You know what they say, practice makes perfect!
Before starting the exercise, situate yourself in a peaceful, quiet room and prepare to engage in this exercise for at least 5 minutes. As you start, take a deep breath and focus your attention to the sight, smell and thought of the present moment. Bring your attention and focus to what is going on internally. If you feel that your thoughts are taking you to the past or future, just become aware of this and bring yourself back to the present moment. Keep your focus on your breathing as you inhale slowly and feel your abdomen expand. Gently exhale slowly and feel your abdomen retract back to the original position. Try a series of these breathing exercises for at least 5 minutes and really try to focus on the present moment, enjoying the experience this exercise can bring you. This exercise should ideally be practiced at least once per day, it is a great way to either start or finish your day. It evens makes a great exercise throughout the day to help you relax and feel more in control of your thoughts, emotions and feelings.
Not only can mindfulness help you relax, it can also bring about positive changes in physical symptoms such as lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, reducing chronic pain and alleviating upset stomach. Mental health can also improve with mindfulness and is a great therapy for people suffering with anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive behavior, eating disorders and substance abuse.
Mindfulness allows you to focus on yourself and get a better understanding of your inner senses. It allows you to also get in touch with your emotions and understand them without judgment. The more you can practice this in your daily life, the easier it becomes and the more benefits you will see. It has been a technique that has been used for hundreds of years throughout many religions and cultures because it helps you to shift your thoughts from either the future or the past and to help you take on the present perspective. Give a try and allow yourself the gift of being fully present in this moment!