"Mindfulness is being present without judgment in every moment." - Unknown Author
Today, let’s spread the word about how mindfulness can help people who suffer from anxiety and depression. So, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves using the senses to pay attention to what’s happening around you and inside you, in the here and now. Mindfulness is a way of being with yourself and perceiving the world around you that can help you live your life more peacefully and with greater balance. In other words, mindfulness is living in your present moment rather than in your anxious thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness allows us to explore, invite, and be compassionate with anxiety and difficult emotions, which in turn reduces their power over us.
Well, as I researched the mindfulness concept, I kept coming across the words “LIVE IN THE MOMENT”. I do realize that if you suffer from anxiety or depression, it is quite difficult to just live in the moment from day to day. Take small steps throughout this process. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Try to embrace the freshness of each day and to analyze the beauty of now. Do everything with pure joy and happiness. Accept your weak points or imperfections in life, then work on them one at a time. Strive to free yourself from all distracting thoughts by journaling your true feelings. Use the power of visualization to reach for your dreams and aspirations. End your day on a positive note by writing down what you are thankful for and taking time for self-reflection.
To truly understand what mindfulness is, you need to also know what mindfulness is not:
1) A quick-fix trick – It’s important to keep practicing mindfulness over time.
2) Religious – It’s not part of a religion and it does not involve personal beliefs.
3) Something separate from you – The capacity to be mindful comes from within.
4) Time-Limited – The more you practice mindfulness, the better it works.
5) A magic wand or cure-all – It’s an effective tool that you can use to choose your focus, reduce anxiety, and still face problems but live a quality life.
6) Just for people who are already relaxed – Mindfulness is a powerful way of taking charge of your anxiety and helping you become relaxed and full of inner peace.
7) Always easy – Mindfulness is a skill that must be developed over time, so don’t give up.
"You must learn to master a new way to think before you can master a new way to be."
– Marianne Williamson
Every day we have many opportunities to practice mindfulness. Have you ever wondered what it means to live in the present? Well, here’s some ways to practice mindfulness in your daily routine.
1) Observe your breathing throughout the day. Your breathing occurs naturally and rhythmically. You momentarily free yourself from your thoughts, worries and fears. The quality of our breath tells us a lot about our state of being. When the breath is slow and steady we are calm and peaceful. When the breath is constricted we are tense.
2) Before you get out of bed, notice your thoughts. This practice helps us get in touch with what is on the mind and in our dreams.
3) When possible, eat silently and slowly. Eat nourishing food and taste every bite. Enjoy the smell of your food and how it looks on your plate. Think about the texture of the food. Recognize your non-hunger triggers to break compulsive overeating.
4) Notice your outside environment – sunlight, rain, the wind, trees, sights and sounds. What is your state of mind and your thoughts as you run your daily errands. Are you in the present moment or thinking about what you will be doing next?
5) Walk mindfully by paying attention to the movement of your body and your surroundings. Notice as your feet connect with and leave the ground. Feel your muscles moving and supporting you.
6) Connect with your senses. Your senses – touch, smell, taste, sound and sight – are your gateway into the present moment. Put love and attention into the simple tasks of your day and you will be amazed how much joy and peace they can bring you.
7) Listen wholeheartedly. Next time you’re in a conversation, make it your goal to fully listen to what the other person is saying to you, without getting lost in your thoughts. Trust that you will know the right thing to say next when it’s your turn to speak.
8) Get lost in the flow of doing things you love. We all have certain activities we love doing. They connect us with our inner spirit and bring us fully alive. Whether it is cooking, dancing, singing, gardening, journaling, writing, painting, swimming or sewing, schedule time to do it and enjoy it.
9) Travel or mix up your routine. Plan your next vacation or just take a different route while running errands. Your senses take over for a short while and it frees you from your mind as you enjoy the different scenery.
10) Meditate daily. There’s no getting around it, meditation has huge benefits and increases your levels of energy, happiness, inspiration and inner peace. Remember, even 10 minutes per day can have a positive impact on your life.
Every positive change in your life begins with a clear, unequivocal decision that you are going to either do something or stop doing something.
• What do you think your life would be like if you didn’t have anxiety or depression?
• What do I need more of in my life?
• What positive changes have you made or experienced in the past year? month? week?
• Write about one thing that you look forward to every day.
• Write about something that you forgive yourself for.
• Write about at least 3 things that help you feel better when things are difficult.