Right now. This minute. What are you thinking about? Are you focusing on this post or is your mind elsewhere? Maybe you’re thinking about your to-do list or recalling or your visit with a good friend yesterday or waiting to hear from a colleague? But chances are that you’re not attending to the present moment, simply because most of the time we don’t.
This lack of present moment awareness, which afflicts us is affectionately called “mindlessness.” Studies show that we spend the majority of our time thinking about the future or past. However, the moments in our life which matter most are the ones in which we show up. Remember the last time you savored playing with your child, eating a tasty meal, walking in nature or taking a long, warm shower. Now, that’s satisfaction!
Since I just returned from a two-day conference on mindfulness, it’s on my mind and I plan to keep it there by posting about it. As a therapist, mom, woman and person, I think mindfulness is one of the best remedies for creating more joy and less stress. Research on mindfulness shows that it improves our health-body, mind, heart and soul, and that it may increase longevity.
But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. Spend 15 minutes each day sitting quietly and focus on your breath, flowing in and out of your body. It may help to notice the rise and fall of your belly, your chest or sensations of the breath around your nostrils. Don’t judge your experience. Accept whatever happens. When thoughts occur, gently return your attention to the breath and observe its cycle from inhalation to exhalation.
If sitting still proves too challenging, choose any activity and pay attention to the accompanying sensations. When your mind strays, and it will, bring your focus back to what you’re doing. Like a lion, the mind runs wild but with time and practice, it can be tamed.
As always, let us know how it goes. All questions and comments are welcome.