Mindfulness: The state of active, open attention to the present. This state is described as observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.
Oh, It’s DAMN Hard!
We would observe giant steps toward global unity if mindfulness was simple. However, it is anything but simple. It takes enormous reflection and acceptance ( of ourselves and others). Imperfections must be acknowledged and embraced.
I find mindfulness to be a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, and day-by-day process. There are minutes, days, and hours when I am absent. Perpetual mindfulness requires an enormous amount of effort and perseverance. I consider myself “Dory” (from the movie Finding Nemo), my attention is quickly distracted, and my mental thoughts are going everywhere but where they should be, which is in the moment. How does this “Dory” vie for mindfulness?
Just Keep Swimming
Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming by:
- Acknowledging when I’m absent, for example: “Reel it in Dory, you’re at dinner with mom” or “Your husband is trying to tell you about his nightmare customer!”
- Asking myself: Why am I distracted? Am I anxious about something? Has fatigued taken over? What is causing the “noise” in my mind?
- Taking a few deep breaths. Slowing my body and mind down. Doing so forces the mind and body to stop the rat race of thoughts it’s currently running.
- Shut off devices that create any type of distraction. Additional influences from cell phones, TV, etc., make remaining focused more difficult.
- Meditating, this exercise builds opportunities to turn inward and tune the world out. I discovered it promotes clarity, a sense of calmness, and a desire to remain attentive.
- Exercising daily. Walking or going to the gym relieves stress and clears any anxiety and ideal thoughts that occupy my mental state.
- “Headspace” is just one of the various apps that is an incredible resource for learning and understanding the skills needed to implement mindfulness into each day.
- Journaling whenever possible. Writing ideas, thoughts, experiences, and emotions down on paper, computer, iPhone, and/or tablet. This brings mindfulness to the forefront and encourages reflection on the why, where, and how mindfulness has become sidetracked. It is incredible how visible patterns and triggers appear when reviewing entries.
I cannot deny the benefits of mindfulness. They are enormous, and there are no cons to incorporating this skill. The demands of embracing mindfulness are challenging, but the results are the personal rewards of participating in minutes, hours, and days that are unique. Our days do not come with a guarantee of occurring again, so doesn’t it make sense to live with mindfulness today?