Living in the present
Mindfulness encourages people to focus on the here and now. When adopting a meditative-like state, it becomes easier to accept intrusive thoughts, before letting them go. It’s important to acknowledge these thoughts first, though, before you can move on.
Mindfulness and meditation teach you the value of the present moment. As a society, our thoughts can tend to drift towards the future, with phrases like “I’ll be happy when…”, or “When … happens, then I’ll be happy”, being all too common. What many fail to realise, though, is that if you aren’t content at this present moment, then the happiness you’re searching for is unlikely to come.
You don’t have to meditate to be mindful, though. There are easy ways that you can focus on the present moment; these can include:
Becoming aware of your senses during an outdoor stroll. Notice what you can see, hear, smell and feel – from the texture of tree bark, to the feel of your clothes against your skin.
Mindful eating. So many of us fall into the habit of eating in front of the television, not really noticing the flavours we’re experiencing. Next time you eat a meal, try to enjoy it distraction-free whilst sitting at a table. Chances are, you’ll notice the flavours more and you’ll avoid overeating.
Concentrate on what you’re doing. Whatever it is you’re doing, whether that’s a project or reading a book, try to focus only on that task – and let other thoughts pass by. You’ll notice a vast improvement in your results and productivity levels.
Deep breathing. When you get the chance, take a few moments to breathe deeply – in through the nose, and out through the mouth. Try to adopt deep breathing techniques with everything you do – from cooking a meal, to taking an outdoor stroll. This can help to reduce feelings of anxiety, whilst offering a welcome boost in mood.
Take a few moments to check in. Try and remember to set aside a few moments each day to notice how you’re feeling. When we’re on autopilot, we can often become oblivious to feelings lying beneath the surface. Try to scan your body, noticing anywhere you feel tension.