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In our fast-paced and digitally connected world, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of constant distractions and future-oriented thinking. The powerful countermeasure to this tendency is mindfulness, which is the practice and ability of being in the moment, in other words being fully present. This topic to me has become quite prevalent, because I am the type person who, at least in my head, am always thinking, planning and analyzing the next three moves of life – kind of like chess. And albeit being, here and now, many times, I’m listening – fully, but I take that  and move on, hence not fully “here and now.” Does that make sense?I’m sure a majority of people are like this.

You see, I am convinced that with the internet, we have been conditioned to no longer be here and now. We are scrolling, and clicking and liking and commenting, and trying to be with or on the next big thing, but in reality, if we all went back to our core roots and disconnected we could learn to be more in sync with ourselves, our relationships, our environment and our planet. It’s that we choose not to be because “entertainment” is so much easier. I speak this, because I’ve been there. I know how it is. However, I am now on a constant journey to be here and now.

The Beauty of Now: Understanding Mindfulness

If you look at the core of what mindfulness is all about then we’ll find that mindfulness is the deliberate practice of paying attention to the present without passing judgment. It entails developing a keen awareness of our ideas, emotions, physical sensations, and the environment. We can let go of concerns about the past or the future and concentrate on experiencing life as it comes to us by being totally present. We tend to get so caught up about things that have already happened, or vice versa, anxious about the upcoming. Both of these lead to the wrong desired outcome – a life of un-fulfilment (or an unfulfilled life) because we can “never” enjoy the current. Hands down, while you’re reading this your probably thinking to yourself that this does not apply to me, but, I believe that 99% of you reading this, if fully honest with yourself, would find yourself far from what the actual definition of mindfulness is. Not that you are not aware of your surrounding or environment or the people you interact with, but being completely empty of all within to allow the full sensation of here and now. Think about that.

Studies have demonstrated that mindfulness training has a variety of positive effects on the body, brain, and emotions. It can lower stress, increase mental clarity and cognitive function, promote emotional health, and foster more resilience in the face of difficulties. We can consistently create a sense of peace, clarity, and general contentment with life by tuning into the present moment. Once I began grasping this, things began to change. And don’t get me wrong. I am not a devoted monk who meditates consistently. I do not practice mindfulness around the clock. I have however, expanded my horizons over the years to encompass the revelations of what mindfulness is and how to approach it so that I know (in other words catch myself), in those moments where I am not in the present. Is that magic? To some degree.

You see to me practicing mindfulness doesn’t necessitate complex rituals or prolonged periods of meditation (whereas I do incorporate those and encourage it). It can be embedded into routine tasks, helping us to fully appreciate life’s richness. For instance, mindfully enjoying a cup of tea while taking time to notice the aroma, feel the warmth of the cup, and sip gently can turn a routine activity into a moment of rest and pleasure. Do you see what I mean by fully being aware? Conversations can strengthen connections and understanding when participants practice mindful listening, paying close attention to the speaker without interruptions. And that does not mean simply listening and responding based on the topic of conversation. It goes beyond that.

Cultivating Mindfulness: Practical Techniques

Over the years, my personal journey has led me to explore and prioritize three key areas that have played a pivotal role in developing and refining my mindfulness practice. These areas have served as cornerstones for cultivating mindfulness “skills” that have positively influenced my overall well-being and inner growth. Now, I would like to share these invaluable insights with you, with the hope that they may inspire and empower you on your own mindfulness journey.

Breath Awareness: Your breath acts as a grounding force to keep you in the present. Being an athlete, breathing exercises has always been something I have done – however without the focus. It was just to get air flowing. Over the years I have learned that we can return to the present moment by focusing our attention on the sensation of how we breath. Spend a few minutes every day sitting quietly, keeping your eyes closed, and focusing on your breathing. Take note of how your chest or abdomen rises and falls as well as the sensation of air entering and exiting your body. When your thoughts begin to stray, gently bring them back to your breathing. You’ll be amazed at what this simple exercise can do – especially when under stress.

Body Scan: Connecting with the present moment and developing body awareness are two goals of the body scan approach. Find a comfortable position, then focus on various body parts, starting at the top of your head and working your way down to your toes. Keep an eye out for any feelings, areas of tension, or relaxation. You may pull yourself into the present moment and foster a sense of grounding and self-awareness by deliberately tuning into the physical sensations in your body. I enjoy doing this laying down. It’s something that my wife and I did at the end of each session while doing yoga. Something that I have incorporated more and more into my daily focus as I learn to listen to my body. When you are young, you believe your invincible. Muscles heal fast, joints are fluid, but as you get older you begin to notice certain changes in this same system. (There is a lot more that goes with this like what and when you eat, but that is for another post). However, doing this regularly helps me connect with me physically. It also teaches me patience. Give it a try.

Engaging the Senses: Lastly, the present moment can be entered directly through our senses (there is actually a foundation for this). Mindfully using the senses can be a fun and simple activity. Consciously tuning into the sensory sensations heightens our awareness and strengthens our connection to the present, whether it’s enjoying the tastes and textures of food, feeling the sun’s warmth on your skin, or listening to the sounds of nature. My wife often tells me to enjoy the moment. I should come sit on the terrace with her and enjoy the sun, or when we eat she consciously makes me aware of the food and the tastes. Being fully focused with your senses allows you to be in the present without your mind wandering off. It’s more than just tasting something and then continuing your conversation. Be more aware of the sensations in your daily life. Focus on them. And see how it changes over time.

Applying Mindfulness to Daily Life

The transforming methods that I personally use and that you can also apply to your life are those that I have discussed with you above. These methods have served as the cornerstone of my own journey toward mindfulness, enabling me to establish a strong feeling of present, inner tranquility, and personal development. You can experience these practices’ powerful impacts and see how your well-being improves by making the time and effort to do them.

Let’s now look at a few major areas where you can use mindfulness and profit from its advantages to improve several facets of your life. You can open up fresh viewpoints, improve your interactions, and promote a higher sense of contentment by intentionally incorporating mindfulness into these areas:

Mindful Movement: Including mindfulness in physical activities can improve them significantly and help us become more present. I know I have. Paying attention to your body’s sensations, your breath’s rhythm, and your surroundings may transform physical activity into a meditative practice, whether you’re doing yoga, taking a mindful walk/hike, or indulging in a kind of exercise you enjoy. You can develop a stronger mind-body connection and create thankfulness for your body’s potential by keeping your attention in the here and now.

Mindful Eating: It’s typical to eat quickly or while multitasking in our fast-paced culture. I did this way to much. Eating in front of my computer, at my desk, during work without taking much of a break. However, mindful eating encourages us to take our time, enjoy every bite, and use all of our senses. Take a time to enjoy the flavors, textures, and fragrances of your food before you start eating. Chew slowly while appreciating the tastes and providing your body with nourishment. Pay attention to your body’s signals of hunger and fullness, and practice being thankful for the sustenance your meals provide.

Mindfulness in Relationships: Ultimately, by fostering attentive listening, empathy, and presence with others, mindfulness can have a significant positive impact on our interpersonal connections. I know a lot of people (and I am guilty too), who during meetings are texting, visibility thinking of other things, but by being fully present and paying close attention to anyone speaking during conversations – you’ll open a new level of communication. Engage in active listening, refrain from passing judgment, and express true empathy. You’ll build genuine connection and long-lasting relationships by being fully present with others. This logically doesn’t mean you need to like everyone or vice versa. However, that basic principle of treating others the way you want to be treated goes much deeper here.

The Transformative Power of Being in the Moment

It seems quite logical that mindfulness seems to be a good thing, no? Or at least I make it sound that way. And as I mentioned earlier, even if you believe you are mindful, I don’t think that (unless you practice it) you fully are. However, as you begin your path toward mindfulness, keep in mind that these things I share are just the beginning stages. Every aspect of your life, from ordinary activities to difficult circumstances and everything in between, can benefit from practicing mindfulness. Accept the chance to investigate and learn about the countless possibilities that mindfulness brings. You can unleash the transformational potential of the present moment and set out on a journey of profound self-discovery and personal progress by developing a mindful way of life.

I know I have. And I still fail day in and day out. However, by repetitively reminding myself and utilizing my family as a cornerstone in this practice I find myself living a fuller life. As odd as that may sound. Being in the present – really being – has such power, that even with all these words it’s still hard to convey. I have learned to deal with difficult emotions, not passing judgment, noticing my thoughts and feelings as fleeting occurrences rather than becoming caught up in them. By choosing my responses, mindfulness has helped me foster emotional resiliency and general well being. On top of that, it allows me to fully recognize the wonder and beauty of everyday experiences. I now discover remarkable within the mundane – as odd as that sounds – when I take the time and use all of my senses. The present moment offers endless possibilities for appreciation and wonder, from the stunning hues of a sunset to the laughter of loved ones and consciously being aware of that unlocks such potential. Engaging in mindfulness exercises, has given me the attitude of gratitude and ability to refocus on the joy and richness that is all around us.

That is why I really want you to incorporate this into your daily being as well. Especially in your work environment it will improve your cognitive skills including focus and attentiveness (just watch who pulls out their phones or is dazed off during a meeting). By practicing mindfulness, we can lessen the effect of distractions and improve our capacity to focus on the work at hand. You’ll unlock your creative potential, increase productivity, and enter a state of flow when your present activities flow naturally with your objectives by fully focusing on the here and now. I hope that makes sense.

To Close Off

Being mindful of the present moment is a transformative habit that can greatly improve all our lives. We are able to access the richness, calm, and joy that are present both inside us and in the environment around us by deliberately cultivating consciousness and living completely in each moment. Being present in the moment has the power to bring us closer to our true selves, strengthen our bonds with others, and foster an intense sense of gratitude and contentment – something I truly believe is going missing in our digital age. Remember that the present moment is always available to you—now here, right now—as you begin your own mindfulness journey.

It has been a process, and still is, yet I have noticed a huge improvement in my mindfulness journey as a result of concentrating on developing awareness, fostering self-compassion, and incorporating mindful activities. It’s crucial to keep in mind that practicing mindfulness calls for endurance, commitment, and an open mind, just like all things in life. I urge you to really read into these topics as you begin your own journey of mindfulness, to modify them to fit your particular requirements, and to embrace the transforming potential that lies ahead of you.

Take advantage of the chance to do so, and then observe as your life changes right before your eyes.

Footnotes & References

  • Carson, J. W., Carson, K. M., Gil, K. M., & Baucom, D. H. (2004). Mindfulness-based relationship enhancement. Behavior Therapy, 35(3), 471-494.
  • Hülsheger, U. R., Alberts, H. J., Feinholdt, A., & Lang, J. W. (2013). Benefits of mindfulness at work: The role of mindfulness in emotion regulation, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(2), 310-325.
  • Neff, K. D., & Germer, C. K. (2013). A pilot study and randomized controlled trial of the mindful self-compassion program. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(1), 28-44.