Today, I will talk about meditation, mindfulness and their benefits, and I am quite excited to start this new year with this topic.
The reason that I want to talk about it is because I have seen the benefits of meditation and mindfulness myself, and I want to give back what I have found useful. I wish to provide a bit of help, even if its small, to people who find it hard to be present and appreciate life amidst their daily routine.
Actually, mindfulness is so crucial especially in the modern way of living that I incorporate it into my coaching sessions.
What is it?
You see, most of the times, we don’t admit even to ourselves, that life does not always live up to our expectations, with the result to accumulate anxiety, stress, to become depressed. However, we can relate to emotional and other challenging situations with balance and compassion, through meditation.
Meditation is the practice of focusing our attention on a specific object. The object can be our breath, a sound, a word, a candle flame, our breath, parts of our body, our senses, our thoughts, our feelings, the world around us – actually, we can meditate upon anythings.
Mindfulness, however, goes a step further; it is paying attention without judgement in the here and now, no matter what our current state is. Mindfulness is about being present with what we do or happens around us, it is about being mindful.
Benefits of Mindfulness
But why would we want to practice mindfulness?
Well, being mindful is a skill. We need to practice it in order to become better – but better on what, you may ask.
Have you ever found yourself going to bed to sleep and wondering where the whole day has gone?
You definitely remember being at work, then back home eating something, perhaps watching a bit of TV in the evening, but still, how did your day vanish like that?
It’s in those cases where time seems to pass faster and faster that we know that the automatic pilot is on. And we don’t do it consciously. it’s the way of our daily routine, its that we have made it a habit. We turn off our mind, we relive every single day exactly like the previous one and we are never present to appreciate the variations and the incredible magic of every single moment.
Living in the past and future
You see, most of us live in the past and/or in the future. We relive painful old memories or worry about all the things that may go wrong in the future. The result of this is that we are not present in the moment, where our life actually takes place.
And interestingly enough, even when we think of the past or the future, our thinking always happens now. And if you think about it, now is the only time there is.
Thoughts as facts
We, humans, are conditioned to take our thoughts as facts, and I have seen it firstly from myself but also from my coaching clients.
A thought pops up into our head and suddenly it becomes the truth.
What is interesting is that our mind creates all sort of assumptions. And it does that because it’s easier to make a prediction when something is known.
So, another crucial benefit of becoming mindful, is that we start taking our thoughts for what they are; that is, pure images, words, symbols, without any substance or reality behind them – but more on that in the following weeks 🙂
So now, I have a short, simple yet powerful mindful exercise for you to try out. And you know what! It’s so simple that you don’t have to be alone to do it, you don’t need your eyes closed – it’s so simple that can be done even at the bus stop while waiting!
The interesting fact about our breath is that it can be voluntary and involuntary, plus it is always with us! So, we start with being mindful of our breath.
For the next few minutes notice your breathing on your nostrils, or at your rib cage, or at your abdomen. All of them are moving while we breathe.
Sooner or later, you will notice that you are distracted by thoughts, which is absolutely normal. When this happens just acknowledge the interruption as if you nod your head to passing people. You acknowledge them and then you let them continue their journey.
Same with this breathing exercise. Notice the presence of your intruding thought (or any other interruption) and let it be.
Allow your thoughts to come and go as they please, while you keep your attention to your breathing. If boredom or anxiety arises, again, acknowledge it and return to your breathing.
With practice, you will become better on noticing your interruptions and on returning to your exercise.
During January, more on mindfulness and meditation will follow, so stay tuned!
And please don’t hesitate to contact me for any questions you may have around meditation or coaching.
Have a mindful day,