Living in the moment involves a profound paradox: You can't pursue it for its benefits. That's because the expectation of reward launches a future-oriented mindset, which subverts the entire process. Instead, you just have to trust that the rewards will come.
MINDFUL AWARENESS – Awareness as a Daily Practice
² Stop what you are doing and take a breath – Awareness
² Do one thing at a time – Be in the moment
² Find Mindful Moments in Everyday Tasks – Meaning and purpose in the now
² Notice the Moves You Already Make - Embodiment
The benefits of mindfulness continue to make it into the media where the data continues show benefits in many facets of one’s life.
Cultivating a nonjudgmental awareness of the present bestows a host of benefits. Mindfulness reduces stress, boosts immune functioning, reduces chronic pain
, lowers blood pressure, and helps patients cope with cancer. By alleviating stress, spending a few minutes a day actively focusing on living in the moment reduces the risk of heart disease. Mindfulness may even slow the progression of HIV.
Living in the moment involves a profound paradox: You can't pursue it for its benefits. That's because the expectation of reward launches a future-oriented mindset, which subverts the entire process. Instead, you just have to trust that the rewards will come. There are many paths to mindfulness—and at the core of each is a paradox. Ironically, letting go of what you want is the only way to get it. Here are a few
Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic
, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem
and are more accepting of their own weaknesses. Anchoring
awareness in the here and now reduces the kinds of impulsivity and reactivity that underlie depression
, binge eating, and attention problems. Mindful people can hear negative feedback without feeling threatened. They fight less with their romantic partners and are more accommodating and less defensive. As a result, mindful couples have more satisfying relationships.
Perhaps the most complete way of living in the moment is the state of total absorption psychologists call flow. Flow occurs when you're so engrossed in a task that you lose track of everything else around you. Flow embodies an apparent paradox: How can you be living in the moment if you're not even aware of the moment? The depth of engagement absorbs you powerfully, keeping attention so focused that distractions cannot penetrate. You focus so intensely on what you're doing that you're unaware of the passage of time. Hours can pass without you noticing.
1. Stop What You’re Doing and Take a Breath
Take a moment to notice the sensation of your breath. Creating intentional space for resettling yourself, even with one breath, will help keep you calmer and more focused throughout your day.
We need to live more in the moment. Living in the moment—also called mindfulness
—is a state of active, open, intentional attention on the present. When you become mindful, you realize that you are not your thoughts; you become an observer of your thoughts from moment to moment without judging them. Mindfulness involves being with your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away. Instead of letting your life go by without living it, you awaken to experience.
2. Do One Thing at a Time
We often try to prioritize tasks by handling them as they come in, even if it means starting a new task while five others are already in the works. Even though it may seem easier to reply “Yes.” to that text then to finish the draft of the email you’re working on, switching between tasks takes up more time and makes you more prone to errors than doing one thing at a time That’s why a huge component of mindfulness is doing just one thing at a time, it is a practice of giving all of your attention and awareness to the task at hand.
Your attentional system is pulled toward the most stimulating thing around you and your phone was designed to be the most stimulating thing around you. Holding onto a phone may temporarily stave off boredom, but it also allows you to tune out sensations and surroundings. Set some time each day to put your phone out of reach (if it’s in reach, you might pick it back up without even realizing it) and just notice what, if anything, happens
3. Find Mindful Moments in Everyday Tasks
Mindfulness involves intentionally doing one thing at a time, and becoming more fully aware of the task and your response to it. The next time you’re doing a seemingly mindless task, like washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, or folding laundry, make it mindful. Notice your sensations; can you allow yourself to get so fully into the experience that it even becomes enjoyable?
4. Notice the Moves You Already Make
There are many ways to practice mindfulness with movement, and you can make it as active as you want. If you already run or dance or exercise in some way that helps you to feel more centered and present, that can be your mindfulness practice. Alternatively, your practice can be as simple as paying attention to the feeling of your feet on the floor as you walk up the stairs to work. It is not about what you focus your attention on, but rather that you take the time to consistently practice holding your awareness on one thing and notice what comes up.
If you wish to go further you can explore meditation. Meditation is a very powerful and practical routine. It helps you create time, attention, space and focus on yourself away from all the chaos of the world around you. It can take many forms from straightforward meditation to breathing exercises, to walking, to giving yourself much needed solitude during the day.
1. Use relaxation techniques. There are different types of relaxation techniques you can use to calm your mind before you drift off to sleep. They include:
a. Yoga poses lower stress levels, calms your mind and relieves tension in your body, making it a natural sleep remedy. There are certain poses that can be particularly beneficial to fighting restlessness, including the easy forward bend or the child’s pose.
b. Meditation or Mindfulness allows you to clear your mind and relax your body by listening to your breathing.
c. Tap into a higher power. Spiritual or religious individuals can try prayer, spiritual reflection or meditation to help rest their mind and body.
d. Muscle relaxation is the act of tensing and relaxing every muscle in your body by focusing on each one.
2. Breathing techniques. If you aren’t into prayer or formal meditation, do some deep breathing instead. Sit still and breathe for 10 minutes. Notice your breath and when your mind begins to wander bring it back to your breath.
Here's the most fundamental paradox of all: Mindfulness isn't a goal, because goals are about the future, but you do have to set the intention of paying attention to what's happening at the present moment. As you hear these words, as you feel gravity anchoring you to the planet, wake up. Become aware of being alive. And breathe. As you draw your next breath, focus on the rise of your abdomen on the in-breath, the stream of heat through your nostrils on the out-breath. If you're aware of that feeling right now, as you're hearing this, you're living in the moment. Nothing happens next. It's not a destination. This is it. You're already there.
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