Mindfulness is not some distant spiritual state that you have to study or reach some kind of enlightenment to achieve. It is about being alert and aware of your life at all times, staying present in the moment instead of fretting about the past or future. Of course, sometimes you have to think about both of those things, but mindfulness helps you keep them in perspective instead of ruminating over them.
Being More Mindful
If you are wondering why mindfulness matters if there were a single word to describe this state, it might be noticing -noticing your breath, your surroundings, your feelings, and your thoughts. Once you start to notice more, you may be surprised to realize how often you go around on autopilot, barely registering your surroundings.
No wonder you feel stretched thin and stressed out. Paying attention to a bird hopping on the grass or to the sound of your own breathing is one thing when you’re enjoying a peaceful moment outside on your front porch, but what about when you’re in the hustle and bustle of everyday life?
If you’re a student, you might think that you don’t have time for mindfulness. You’re rushing from class to work to activities and back again.
Your success depends on studying hard and achieving in your classes; with your brain full of facts, preparing for an exam or presentation, who has time to slow down and take in their surrounding? However, there are still many ways you can incorporate being more mindful into your life.
First, take concrete steps to address any worries that you may have. If you have money concerns, you might want to consider taking out private student loans to supplement your other funding for college.
Next, build in some downtime, even if it is just five minutes between tasks. Close your eyes and try to clear your mind, paying attention to your breathing and the sounds around you.
Finally, use mindfulness to improve your retention. When you’re truly paying attention to the concepts that you are learning, you will remember them more easily.
Work presents many of the same challenges as being a student and offers some of the same solutions. Get away from your desk for a few minutes at least once or twice during the day and ground yourself in the physical world around you.
Try to address distractions directly instead of turning them over endlessly in your head. If you are having a conflict with a coworker, try talking to them about it and work to find a solution so that you can move on from it.
Above all, practice being mindful when things get busy, and finding calm in the middle of chaos. Eventually, you will be able to invoke this state of mind without having to step away from distractions.
How often do you look at your phone when you’re with your family? You’re present, but are you really there? This is one of the most important places to be more mindful. Listen to your spouse and your children when they talk to you. You may want to discuss mindfulness with them so that you can all help one another be more aware.