Mindful habits for your day-to-day
In a pretty much contaminated World, not only through physical pollution, but also with stress, low energies, thoughts and emotions, it is frequent to see many of us constantly looking for an oasis of peace out there. Well, the good news is that we do not need to seek for outer responses any more, all we need is already inside ourselves. Let me introduce you to the concept of Mindfulness.
This technique as known today was developed by the Emeritus Professor of Medicine Jon Kabat-Zinn. Around 1979 and after being a meditation student for some years, he founded the Stress Reduction Clinic, where he taught a Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program, which later became Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), based on a more scientific structure. But what is Mindfulness? It is a very simple concept that means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and without any judgment, accepting the reality as it is and flowing with it. However, this concept is not new to human history at all, as it has been around for ages, nearly in every continent and religion, reason why it does not generate conflict with any of them.
Our tricky mind
We know, and not only through Mindfulness, that the reason of all stress and suffering is giving too much attention to our thoughts. The thoughts, as well as the mind, are just a tool to you, same as — for instance — your arm or your leg can be. The same way you would not let your arm take control over your life, neither your mind should.
Because it is its true nature, even if we are the most optimistic on Earth, quite often we see that our mind keeps us thinking all case scenarios, including worse ones, that may — but most of the times, may not — happen. That is totally fine and natural, because it is its function as part of our survival mode, to keep us alive. The problem starts when give too much room to these thoughts, then the stress begins.
How can Mindfulness help us?
Mindfulness prevents any emotion like fear or sadness from taking control over us, as it quiets our mind chatter. When practiced every day, it encourages us leave the auto pilot mode to be fully aware of the current moment, and when this happens, our mind is focused in the present and not constantly “traveling” to the future and past, back and forth, where the suffering takes place. As a result, we become more centered, and certain mental and physical conditions can be improved. By being more present, we also find life more enjoyable, live fully, and let our relationships flourish and work out perfectly.
The 4 causes of suffering you need to avoid
When you compare to others, you can bring in feelings of envy, insecurity, low self-esteem, inferiority, and so on. Each one of us requires different things in life, or wish different things or accomplishments, so there is really no point at all comparing to others.
However, it can also happen that you make a comparison with yourself. How? Perhaps you had a plan in mind and it did not turn out as you expected, so you contrast your ideal with your reality, and you feel disappointed even if it could have turned out to be something better, because you just wanted that one thing, not another, therefore you are not able to feel appreciation for it.
- Being too focused in the future.
Since the future is a projection of infinite possibilities, being flooded by too much information can definitely overwhelm us, generating anxiety of things that are not real, or have not happened yet. Don’t get me wrong, it is desirable to have plans and goals, but worrying too much about what will happen when we are not even there is not productive at all. What will be, will be.
- Being too focused in the past.
It can bring depression, lack of interest or guilt about something that happened, but we cannot longer control or change it. What happened in the past is there to teach us a good lesson, not to torture us.
“Where there is no information, it is filled with imagination”.
Our mind craves for making sense of all the things happening around us. Hence, when it does not have the proper information, it does need to fill in the blank with assumptions, which are not necessarily the truth, but we can believe them as such.
What does Mindfulness propose to incorporate in our daily routine?
Acknowledge and accept the present, do not fight against it, do not resist, even the pain. What you resist to, it persists, and it creates additional suffering.
Give room to your emotions, instead of denying them. Allow yourself to feel all the sensations in your body.
Understand that the painful situations cannot be avoided every time, but you do have the chance to choose how to react to every situation and lower the suffering. Everything passes in our lives, so will this.
Detach from your thoughts, to become an observer and create a better perspective, without judgement. Once you realize it was just a thought, it will dissipate as it will lose power.
Pick a task a day (if more, better), and be fully present in it, with all your senses, feeling the peace within you.
Be kind and compassionate, firstly with you, then the others.
Practice breathing exercises, or formal meditation.
Remember that we can only control what is within our action range — that is, our body, energy, feelings, thoughts and actions -, the rest is not up to us.
You will see it is not necessary to seek for outer sources of happiness anymore, as it is all within us. This technique is particularly useful if you suffer from anxiety, fears, anger, depression, stress, as it can be combined with other therapies.
Remember, your thoughts are just thoughts, not your Real You. Since you will not be wasting or giving away this huge amount of energy the mind chatter consumes, you will be saving all of it for being prepared and accomplishing the whole lot of activities you do want and enjoy in your everyday life. You will also be fully present in the moment, to be ready and give the highest version of yourself to the World.
*The content of this article is not intended as a substitute for care from a physical or mental therapist, or other health care professional. Individuals should always consult with a mental health care professional for answers to personal health questions.