Most people today are in such a rush to get things done that they rarely take the time to live in the moment. Past hurts, future worries and things that you have no control over might be dominating your thoughts each day. However, you can learn mindfulness exercises and begin to regain control.
In addition to negative thought loops, lack of mindfulness can lead to daydreaming and other unproductive activities. For instance, thinking longingly about a trip to a tropical island will take you from the present moment, when you could actually be working toward going, into an imaginary world that will not bear fruit.
Mindfulness exercises are used to help you become aware of all of your senses. Learning to focus your attention on the small details of the world around you will help you to appreciate it in a new way. From hearing your own breathing to viewing birds in the distance, your ability to remain tuned in will begin to grow with practice.
People who practice mindfulness on a regular basis are able to reduce anxiety, depression and stress. This is because these conditions all involve excessive focus on external matters. However, you can improve your mood even if you aren’t suffering from any of these conditions.
Most experts agree that in order for mindfulness training to be effective that you must engage in it daily. It can take several months to really begin to feel the results outside of your mindfulness sessions. But, you will find it well worth the effort as your awareness grows.
One of the easiest exercises is to simply pay attention to your breath. You can do this exercise practically anywhere. Feel your lungs expand as you inhale and experience the contractions as the air flows from your body back into the world.
Notice any sensations that you feel while you are breathing. How is your body reacting? Note the sensations without judgement.
It is natural that your mind will wander, particularly in the beginning. Rather than admonishing yourself for losing focus, allow the thought to pass through your mind, acknowledged but without any additional energy. The more often you do this, the easier it will be to let other things roll off of your back as well.
Other mindfulness techniques will have you working with other sensory input. For instance, when you eat, take the time to truly taste each bite. Notice the texture, flavors, colors and other sensory aspects of the food. Can you distinguish between the various spices used in the meal?
No matter what type of exercises you are doing, remain diligent and practice gaining awareness. Don’t allow external stimuli to distract you completely away from your focus.
Although many people find mindfulness techniques challenging, or even silly, at first, those who stick with it are glad they did. You can achieve greater peace, less anxiety and an overall better mood by actively employing these techniques on a daily basis. Eventually, it will become second nature!