The cool thing about the technique I am about to share with you is that it can be incorporated very easily into your every day routine. As with many things in life, we must consistently apply ourselves to experience the full effect of them, however, in my own personal experience I started to see benefits materialise after using it for about a week.
You may or may not have heard of the concept called mindfulness. One definition of this practice is, “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”
What ultimately is a sizeable cause (along other things) of stress, feeling of overwhelm, anxiety and mental fatigue is scattered thoughts worrying about the past and the future…and not enough time spent focusing on the here and now! Society today is running at a faster pace than ever and we have between 60,000-80,000 thoughts per day whizzing through our minds (how crazy is that!?). It is very easy, without the necessary mental training, to get swept away in the stuff that either isn’t important, is negative imagination or doesn’t serve your best interests in living a happy and fulfilled life. By being present we life a fuller life.
Now I’m not saying we cannot learn from the past, in fact it is imperative that we do (by learning from our past, it means we do not fail, but rather grow and develop). But as we cannot change the past, to do anything other than take the learning points from it and move on, is a huge waste of energy and can be a source of major unhappiness!
Similarly, having goals for the future is important too, but it’s key not to associate that future with becoming happy and successful…both of those are born by living in and appreciating the present.
By implementing mindfulness for as little as 5 minutes per day (I would recommend 15-20 minutes+) you will soon feel a calmer nature about yourself, more focus, less irritability, stress reducing, feel less on edge and more focused and energized
Here’s a few examples of how you can use in every day life…
· On the walk to the car or the station, listen to how the trees rustle in the wind, how the birds chirp, or how the sound of a car’s engine changes?
· At your desk at work hone in on the smell of the cafeteria, the sounds of your colleagues nattering in the background or the keyboards tapping, how the seat feels against your back and legs?
· Standing on the bus, how does it feel to be swaying as it moves, notice how fast/slow the cars are going outside, are there any beepings of horns and do they sound different?
· When going for a run, how does the wind feel on your skin, how does the floor feel on your feet, how does it feel moving closer to the horizon to which you’re aiming, what are the colours of the butterflies you pass?
· With regards to being mindful with your thoughts, rather than getting swept away with them, instead observe them with your mind’s eye, without judgment asking yourself, what actually is this thought, how does it serve you by spending time focusing on this thought (positive or negative), how would you benefit positively by not focusing on this thought?
You can apply this to any sensory action. Really focus down on each thing you are being mindful of. By doing this more and more we literally re-wire our brains and train ourselves to only engage with those thoughts that WE choose!
Now how easy is that? There are very few things in this world you get for little effort…however with this, the benefits greatly outweigh the time and energy invested.
Give it a go and see how you get on. On the next blog post I will be taking things a step further and discussing the power of meditation, providing you with tips, tricks and top apps to help implement it into your life as easily as possible.
Have a great week, Dan.