In this day and age we are overworked, overstressed and overwhelmed. The pace of life is faster than ever and the bombardment of information, the economic, social and political stresses are all creating internal and external turmoil.
How do these problems affects us? We feel continuously rushed and our lifestyles are out of balance. Many of us have a hard time sleeping, breathing, or even properly digesting our food. More of us experience serious health conditions such as heart disease, cancer and drug addiction. Our relationships with ourselves and others are affected and with that, our sense of enjoyment and appreciation of life. The costs are very high; we lack peace, happiness and true fulfillment.
Mindfulness is a very effective tool for creating inner peace and balance.
So what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the art of attention and awareness. It lives in the present moment which is the only moment we have. It is a form of non judgmental, relaxed awareness. When we are mindful, we are paying attention on purpose to the contents of the current moment, including our emotions and environment. Through mindfulness, we learn to allow things to simply just be, rather than trying to control, resist, or fix everything around us.
In this article, we will examine tips and techniques on how to cultivate mindfulness and support a state of inner peace, focus and balance.
Most of us operate from a place of worry, anxiety, and judgment of ourselves and others. This state of mind is preventing us from accepting, receiving and enjoying life. Observing or witnessing, teaches us to relax, accept, and drop judgment. As a result, our state of being shifts to a more peaceful one.
Our monkey mind is part of our defensive self. It is relentlessly commenting on everything we come in contact with. It pushes us to file things in drawers according to categories. We have the “good” drawers and “bad” drawers in our minds. There, we collect or likes and dislikes. As we go through life, we are constantly bouncing between rejection and attachment, jumping from the future to the past and back again. This reactive way of being does not allow for observation, awareness and peace.
It is most important to begin to observe this kind of obsessive and compulsive thinking. If you are a meditator, you know how hard it is to relax the “monkey mind.” It takes practice. But the first step is to notice it and identify the action and impact of it. As your mindfulness practice grow, you can learn to slow and relax your restless mind.
The twin-sister of the monkey mind is “emotional drama.” Emotional drama is the inner turmoil of contradicting, conflicting, and painful emotions that swirl around and torment us. This can happen in relation to a past or present event. Most of the time it touches on pool of unresolved emotional experiences of the past. So, how do we handle our inner drama? An important aspect is to learn is how to identity and witness our emotional reactions with a sense of compassion and a healthy detachment. Treat your emotions as you would a child that you love. Allow yourself to experience them and move through them, so that you can find a way beyond. Remember, you have emotions, but you are not your emotions. You are the witness to them.
Because of the pressures we experience in life, it is hard to find a moment to ourselves. On the other hand, if we don’t find quiet and stillness, our lives will become more complicated and spin further out of balance. There are many ways to carve out time to meditate. Exercise, yoga, cleaning your house, or merely sitting on a bench to watch the sky—all of these activities are ways to find peace. The most important element is your ability to quiet the monkey mind, ground your body in your breath, and be mindful in the moment.
We are never “in the moment.” Our thoughts are always pulling us in different directions. We obsess over what we have to do, going through past and future dialogues, and projecting and worrying about the future. We have lost the ability to be fully engaged in the present moment. Deep down, we all long to experience and enjoy every moment we have. On some level, we need to become more like children and train ourselves to smell the roses and appreciate the simple things in life; we should aim to cultivate the most basic right of life—enjoyment!
Simply put—we worry too much. It is an ingrained habit rooted in the basic fear of survival. It robs us of our energy, imagination and creativity. Treat it as a bad habit. Commit to shedding it, slowly and surely, just as you would junk food. Become mindful when you are engaging in worry and talk yourself out of the worry. Drop is as you would your “monkey mind.”
It’s an obvious point that balance is supremely important—balance between doing and resting, work and play, physical and mental, or spiritual and practical. Healthy living means balanced living. Become mindful of this very notion and stay committed to maintaining balance in all of the areas of your life. It is not an easy task. But if your health and peace of mind are a priority, you will find a way to achieve it.
Harsh judgment of ourselves or others causes emotional pain which translates to stress in the body and sadness in the heart. Become mindful of your judgments and their impact on you and others. Teach yourself to become more accepting, compassionate and loving. These characteristics will help you grow and love deeper.
It is obvious that stress and the need to control the uncontrollable imprisons us. Use the practice of mindfulness to notice the stress in your body and learn to release it by using your breath, gentle movements of the neck, shoulders, and lower back, but also commit to relaxing, resting and playing. Self-guide to cultivate a healthy perspective in life. Nothing is so important that it deserves to make us unhappy and sick.
You only get one life to live in this form, in this body, at this time. Embrace it! Each moment is a gift and you deserve to open up to the moment and live it.
Life is meant to be a journey of discovery, sharing and creativity. Experiencing our moments fully enhances the journey. Mindfulness grounds us in the present moment. It helps us release stress, shed judgments, worries and fears, and truly frees us to love and enjoy life.
More expert advice about Self-Guided Improvement
Photo Credits: © Photographee.eu - Fotolia.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com