When mindfulness is associated with the teachings of meditation gurus and distinguished yogis, it can seem a daunting practice to understand.
The fact is, however, that mindfulness is an exceedingly simple exercise undertaken each day by millions of people, consciously and unconsciously. Simply put- it is the practice of active awareness and recognition of the pure present moment, and nothing else.
Psychologists often refer to the “flow state” experienced by people who become so involved in an activity that they lose sense of time and their surroundings. Not surprisingly, these people are reported to be happier, healthier and more productive when they engaged regularly in such activities.
This involved engagement is exactly what mindfulness is all about- and you don’t have to be a yogi, a scientist or a monk to learn how to integrate it into your day.
You can begin right now with 5 simple steps:
1. Declare Intentions
This can be as simple as waking up in the morning and stating to no one in particular- “I am going to be calm and productive today.” The idea is to live in each moment with a specific goal or mindset instead of rushing through the entire day, which leaves you aimless and exhausted.
2. Use Your Breath
Breathe deeply in focused intervals throughout your day. This practice takes very little time and effort and it allows you to anchor your mind and body in the present instead of worrying about past actions or future obligations.
3. Engage Yourself
Immerse yourself in challenging activities that engage the mind and body simultaneously (yoga, for example). These activities help you live fully in the present and have the greatest potential to help you unlock that “flow state.”
4. Practice Gratitude
Mental health professionals frequently encourage their patients to practice extended gratitude for things usually taken for granted (like air, food and water). This mindset awakens the ability to see everything for what it is in the here and now.
5. Be Present with
Remind yourself often that you are part of the whole human race. Be present in your interactions with others. For example- limit technological distractions and leave the electronic communications alone until all face-to-face human communication is completed.
Mindfulness, as a practice, is only as complicated as you make it. Breathe deep, live lightly and try only for a simple awareness of everyday living. This seemingly small mindset can go a long way in helping individual happiness!