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Do you feel you often forget things or conversations? Do you have difficulty staying focused or completing a task? Do you find yourself feeling bored if you are not doing more than one thing at a time? Do you ruminate on your thoughts and/or struggle with anxiety? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you would most likely benefit from developing a mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention with our eyes wide open to what is happening within and around us at any given moment on any given day. Although it may sound easy enough, mindfulness has become harder and more difficult with all the contemporary messages that compete for our attention each day. Nowadays I wonder how many of us watch television while eating breakfast, talk on the phone while driving and/or make a habit out of the “working lunch”? Three components essential to how we practice mindfulness are one-mindfully, non-judgmentally, and effectively.
One-mindfully simply means we are doing one thing at a time. If we are eating, we are tasting the food, noting its appearance, experiencing the sensation of chewing and recognizing when we are full. It is the opposite of multitasking or numbing which somehow have become the American way of life.
Non-judgmentally means that we are noting our environment, recognizing what is happening in the moment, paying attention to how we feel without judging what is currently happening…..just noting what is. When we begin to judge, the judgmental thought takes us away from the moment to analyzing the moment.
Effectively means mindfulness is a practice not a destination. Our goal is not to reach some type of perfection but to continue the practice of mindfulness knowing that our “monkey mind” will always have the tendency to jump from thought to thought. We can however, pay attention to each moment by noting the thought without judgment then focusing our attention back to the current moment as many times as it takes. That is being effective.
If you are missing out on day to day moments, you are running past many of the opportunities that embody joy and ultimately create a life worth living! Consider developing your own mindfulness practice by taking a mindfulness class or speaking to a counselor for guidance. I can guarantee you will be glad you did.