The word ‘mindful’ has been used so many times in different ways by the media in recent years that it can be tricky to pin down what it really means! What does it mean to be mindful? You’d be forgiven for not really knowing how to explain it because believe me I was the same!
Does it mean being considerate of other people, being calm, thoughtful or happy? Well it turns out that it’s used to explain the state of mind one is in when being ‘in the moment’, connecting to your inner thoughts and being aware of the way those thoughts work.
You have probably seen lots of articles about meditation and thought to yourself “I’m not religious, why would I need to meditate?” I thought this too. But meditation is a practice people use to become mindful. It’s no longer about connecting to a ‘higher source’ (although it can be if that’s what you want) but it’s really just about taking some time in your day to sit down, be calm and fully aware of yourself and your breathing.
By focusing on breathing (deeply, though just normally is okay too) in and out during your downtime, you can relax the mind and become fully aware of the present moment.
Most of us go about our daily lives doing the same routine. We get up, head on a stressful commute to work, have a busy day and then get home to errands we have to run. We live in a time where life is stressful and our minds are constantly being stimulated by our smartphones, work and the general busy-ness of life.
So, for example you can be more mindful if, when you go to reach for that 9am coffee, you stop to think about why you want that coffee and if anything else would be a better alternative like green tea!
Mindfulness is about being aware of your thoughts and not blocking your feelings. This goes for all sorts of feelings like lack of confidence, being jealous, upset or overwhelmed. Being aware of your thoughts and feelings is likely to make you happier in the long run as you will have more control of your mind, thoughts, feelings and therefore your life.
Mindfulness can encompass little experiences and choices as well as making sure you are in the present rather than just ‘going through the motions’. Meditation helps you do this by training your mind to learn how to take a step back and mentally slow life down.
Still not sure how to take those first steps to being mindful? Keep an eye out for our next article on: 5 Top Ways to be Mindful. Let us know if you’ve tried meditation and what you thought and felt about it. Let’s all become mindful together!