The term Mindfulness gets thrown around a lot in today’s culture. But the concept and practice have been around forever. The word gets used often and most of the time you never know exactly what it means or how to apply it properly to your life.
So what’s the idea of mindfulness?
You know that feeling that you experience when you get lost in a good song, you can hear every pluck of the guitar string or you find yourself surrounded by the vocals. It could be that moment when you’re out seating on a bench, under the shade of a tree as the cool wind blows by you. You notice everything around you, the birds chirping, the smell of the grass, the clouds slowly rolling over you, you’re in the moment—you’re mindful.
Mindfulness is all of that and more, it’s your ability to experience your surroundings. And I don’t mean to experience as in you took a simple glance at the area around you before returning to your phone, to experience is to be ingulfed by it. Whether it’s with eating or listening to music or just enjoying a beautiful day, if you successfully took advantage of everything that stimulus could provide to you, then you were being mindful.
So how will practicing mindfulness benefit me?
Enjoying the seconds as they pass by without worrying of the past or future, can be an absolute game changer in your life. Both for your professional and personal life. This kind of idea is practically living without distractions. It’s the ability to focus your self towards what is happening now and nothing else.
Mindfulness can increase your productivity, being able to put your full attention towards a task can provide you with a perspective that you wouldn’t reach if you were distracted on minor issues.
It can help you with your mood, the benefit of being present and constantly being mindful of the moment means you don’t waste time and energy fretting over the past or the future. You’ll notice, as weeks go by of putting this philosophy into practice, that your stress will decrease tremendously. And being mindful isn’t ignoring your future problems, being mindful is knowing that the things you have going on now are more important.
There’s a quote that always helps me understand the basic rule of this lifestyle.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
So how can I get started?
First things first, put away the electronics, no distractions. Now breath and look at your surroundings. See where you are, what are the sounds you hear? what do you smell? How does your body feel? It’s going to feel weird, just sitting there, doing nothing. But that because you’ve gotten so used to the instant gratification of likes and follows and retweets.
Step outside if you can, just look out and pay attention to the sounds, whether it’s the sounds of an urban environment or a natural one, try to find details. Maybe you hear people talking in the distance, or birds chirping in the tree, the point is to try to immerse yourself in your surroundings. Constantly being attached to your phone or worrying about future work is detaching yourself from the moment.
You don’t have to do this every second of every day (although it wouldn’t hurt if you did) people are busy, sometimes you get lost in the rush of it all, but be sure to take a moment when things start to get overwhelming. Look up, breath and be mindful of your moment.
Author: Steven Guillen
Steven Guillen is a current journalism student at FIU trying to find his place in the world through his passion for music, food and literature. You can catch Steven out in nature, listening to live music with a pint in hand or relaxing at home with his cats and a good book. An aspiring writer with hopes of leaving a literary mark on the world.
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