A mindful person is reflective rather than reactive.
Have you ever tried watching your thoughts?
Long back, I was simply sitting alone in my room? Lost in thoughts. Daydreaming. Suddenly, I said to myself. Wait. Wait. I asked myself, "What am I thinking?"
That moment, I got a sense of awareness, that I may be sitting alone in my study room surrounded by books and stationery, but my mind is not all present here.
This body is here, but the mind, Where? I asked myself.
Because I had a habit of writing quotes and important lessons or motivational stuff on sticky notes and sticking it on the wall, I decided, Let me make another one saying, "Watch your thoughts, be aware"
Whenever I would see that. I'll calm down and come to the present moment completely. I would start watching all the things lying around. The temperature. The smell around. The touch of my clothes. How I am feeling and just everything that's there in the present moment.
Eventually, this exercise took me to the next stage where I started watching my thoughts. Just simply watching them. Observing without any judgment of good and bad.
I realized, "They come and they keep coming like a river continuously flowing."
I realized, "I am so weak, I have no control over my mind"
I realized, "They are either in the past or the future", they are never related to the present.
It is always either about what happened in the past or what we need to do in the future? And it either used to elate me or depress me. Losing balance.
"The only moment that exists in the present. What can we do with the past or future? Everything lies in the present."
I HAD CROSSED THE FIRST STAGE.
"Awareness of Unawareness is the first step towards Awareness"
I am happy today, that by grace, I at least got to know, How unaware I was.
Because, If if think we are already aware, The veil is still closed. I still am. I am walking the path. I have a long way to reach complete consciousness, but the good part is that I am better than before. And that's what is important.
This made my life better and that's why I want to share this with you all and inspire you to slowly start walking towards awareness from unawareness.
Now, after such a long time, when I now tell people especially, my clients or people who are seeking advice to be mindful, the goal is simply to make their lives better. As it made mine better.
I have met people who can't meditate. Can't sit for even 10 mins. Agitated. Anxious and just not willing to sit and meditate. I tell them to just begin with mindfulness. It' a great start!
Many people even question, how is it even going to help me? I tell them to just give it a try for some time and they start seeing results and they understand that, yes, it helps. :)
The power of now is mighty. The only problem is that we are never in the NOW moment.
So, What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply being aware of what's happening at the present moment consciously, with no judgment or attachment.
To be aware of what's going on around us and within us. In the microcosm and the macrocosm. The things around us, our thoughts, our activities, the touch, the smell in the environment, the taste, the sounds around us. Just simply being aware of the present situation, AS IT IS.
Bringing your complete attention to the present moment.
To take it to the next level, We also tell people to focus on their sensations anywhere in the body. If they are walking, be aware of the sensations on their legs. If eating, be aware of the sensation that your taste buds create.
If a person can't do this, the best way is to focus just on the BREATHE. Just being aware of the breath as it is, as it comes in and goes out.
Why be mindful?
I remember my old days, maybe some 7-8 years ago when I made my first resume, I wrote ''Multitasking as a skill''
It took me so much time to realize that,
Multitasking is not a great skill to have, rather its a highly dangerous attribute to carry.
I remember, talking to my friends on call, eating and studying at the same point in time and sometimes even watching TV at the back.
I could neither listen to half of the things my friend would say, I could nor remember the taste of the food, I had not read a single line of the book.
Pheww!! Can that ever be a useful skill to carry?
Mindfulness Practices have helped people in the past and still gives the same benefits.
Although I believe that the benefits are not limited to the number, I am still going to list a few below,
1) We become better at handling emotions.
How do we differentiate animals and humans on the scale of consciousness? Well, As humans, we are lucky that we have the power that,
We can think about out thoughts, we can observe them and be aware. Animals unfortunately, can't do that.
Emotions are inevitable. Even emotional turmoils will come in our daily lives. But how do we handle them and react to them, is in our control?
Mindfulness acts as a great tool, to regulate our emotions beautifully. Embrace them, and let them go.
From this, we go to the next benefit,
2) It helps us let go of our problems, rather than suppressing it.
If you share with anyone, that dude! I am going through this problem,
Many times, you'll get a reply. Ohh friend, Go play for some time, Eat something, do what you like, etc.
Basically, its a great myth swirling around, that distracting yourself, can let you go of your problems. But No, its a very temporary solution. The emotions get buried inside for some time, but they are bound to rise again and create havoc.
Mindfulness is a path. One can take. To not simply distract yourself for a few evenings and focus on something else. But to be simply aware and accept your current situation.
With time, the problem fades away.
Face the emotions without judgment, don't suppress them. They arise to pass.
3) It can help you decrease stress, anxiety, and depression - Mindfulness has proven beneficial to treat anxiety, depression, and stress-related issues. By being mindful, we learn how to respond to stress with awareness. We are just simply aware of what is happening at the present moment. We are learning how not to be simply acting instinctively, being unaware of what emotions or motives that may be driving our decisions. We very soothingly learn, how to be more adaptive with difficult situations.
4) Our attention span increases - Through mindfulness, slowly and eventually, we get to practice, focusing one thing at a time, when we focus on the present moment.
We have practiced being distracted for so long. We are eating, but our mind is thinking of all the necessary (actually unnecessary) things at the same point in time, that we barely enjoy the food. When we practice mindfulness, we can bring our attention back, when it wanders away and therefore, making us more focused and attentive.
5) We make better decisions - When we are more mindful, We take better decisions. Because we are in the present moment, we are conscious of our feelings, intuition, bodily sensations, Our decision-making process becomes is more of a conscious exercise, than an impulsive one. We are calm and we have cleared all the unnecessary information from our head, So, We can focus on what is happening and what is important at the current moment.
6) It can also improve our physical health - Research suggests that mindfulness can help us improve not just our mental health, but also, our physical health. It helps even our body to be more relaxed, as we are more aware of the things we are doing.
Other than these, mindfulness makes us better at anything in our lives. It can help us regulate our mood, be more stress-free, enjoy life in the present moment, being aware of our emotions and feelings, our emotional reactivity lowers, our job burnout goes down.
There are numerous benefits of mindfulness, and anyone who starts doing it will get some of the benefits for sure. :)
Like Anything, It requires PRACTICE.