Why Mindfulness Matters

Mindfullness is being present in the moment.  It’s perceiving yourself within the context of your environment.  A mindful person is aware of themselves as well as their surroundings and other people.  It’s an important concept to become familiar with because it extends beyond what you might think of as meditation into realms that can have direct affects on your day to day life.

Anxieties come in all forms and shapes and can be traced back to a concern about undesirable potential futures.  The key words here are potential and futures.  Being mindful requires being present.  And being present requires understanding that anxieties serve no purpose.  Yes you should be proactive and take steps to ensure you can pay your bills, get a job, or resolve conflict.  But being held back by anxieties about externalities outside of your control is not helpful.

Four Actions to Improve Your Mindfulness

In our society it is not easy to be free of anxiety about the future.  But there are small steps that you can take to improve your mindfulness little by little and be more perceptive of your physical self and ameliorate your condition.

  • Take a minute and look around you.  Truely look at your surroundings.  Not just at the items and furniture that may surround you, look at the textures of the items.  The color, size and shape.  I bet there are a couple of things that you may not have noticed.  Maybe the texture of a stool or chair nearby.  Anything will do.
  • The next time you get nervous, pay attention to your breathing.  Notice how it correlates with your heart rate.  Then listen to your heart rate.  As you listen to your heart rate, you will become more aware of its beating.  By now you are focused more on the present and it should begin to slow down as your focus changes from the initial nervousness to your physical and corporeal body.
  • The next time you are in a new place, stop and look around.  When you first land at an airport you most likely beeline to the longest customs queue imaginable and wait, frustrated you cannot begin your outing.  But use the time to take a look at the incredible array of cultures and personalities around you.   Notice the differences in their speech patterns, the different moods and most improtantly perceive, not judge, your surroundings.
  • When you are working out hard it’s easy to let your mind dictate your feelings.  Before your workout, remind yourself why you are there.  Not to feel comfortable or for lesiure time but to get shit done. During your workout, if you feel like you’re about to gas from going too hard, try to get out of your mind completely.  Focus on pushing your physical body to its potential and push any thoughts that don’t have to do with you crushing the workout out of your head.

Make some time for mindfulness.  At whatever stage in life you’re in, being mindful can help you focus on what really matters and stress less over things that are outside of your control.

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