As we become increasingly good at multitasking, we lose our connection to the here and now- to the present moment. We stop focusing on our mental and physical health and how our bodies and minds react at any given point in time. We are all over the place: this is where the importance of cultivating and developing mindfulness comes in.
Mindfulness refers to the action of being fully present at the moment, with complete awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, activities, and surroundings.
Practicing mindfulness every day can open new avenues to achieve inner peace and stability over time. Mindfulness techniques reduce feelings of stress and anxiety: something that most of us suffer from in the present scenario.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Studies attest that practicing mindfulness throughout the day can positively impact our physical and mental wellbeing. We can also notice a rewarding change in our attitudes and behaviors in our day-to-day lives.
Let us go through a few of these benefits:
1. Leads to a Satisfied Life
Seldom does our life pan out like we plan it or want it to. There are bound to be a few hiccups here and there along the way. We get demotivated and disappointed. We might have a few regrets or harbor a few grudges too. These negative feelings and experiences disrupt our way of lifestyle.
Mindfulness can help us navigate these feelings. As we know, being mindful involves being aware and accepting of one’s circumstances. When we practice being mindful, we learn to accept life’s curveballs with newfound grace and courage. Instead of worrying about the future and dwelling over past events, we learn to take in the present moment. Be it success or failure, extreme happiness, or adversity, we learn to strike a balance and are more prepared for our reactions to these events.
2. Improves Physical Wellbeing
Apart from bringing contentment into our daily lives, practicing mindfulness has several benefits on our physical health. Cultivating mindfulness can help regulate stress and lower blood pressure levels. If we suffer from any heart disease or gastrointestinal problems, mindfulness can help us keep these in check. Sleep deprivation, which affects a significant section of the current workforce, can be appropriately tackled when we practice mindfulness in our daily lives.
3. Benefits Mental Health
The effects and benefits of mindfulness have well permeated into the spheres of mental health as well. Several diseases which affect a person’s mental health and wellbeing, such as depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse, etc., can be effectively managed by incorporating mindfulness techniques and exercises. Modern-day psychotherapists like the ones on Prairie Health recommend practicing mindfulness-based meditation with their patients.
Mindfulness Techniques for Everyday Life
A mindful lifestyle is a product of habits and discipline. Incorporating a few mindfulness techniques in our daily routine will bring us closer to unlocking the several benefits discussed above. With these techniques, we can practice mindfulness at the workplace and home alike.
1. Be Attentive
The key to being mindful lies in being attentive to our experiences. This means drawing attention and focusing on all the different ways we experience the world through our five senses, sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
For instance, practice mindful eating. The next time you have lunch at the office cafeteria, take a proper break from work and try to experience your meal in all its totality. How does it look and smell? How does the texture feel on your tongue? Register the taste.
Tip: Take a break from all screens when you are having a meal.
2. Be Present in the Moment
This mindfulness exercise might read and sound touché, but it works in the larger scheme of things. ‘Be Present.’ The advice might seem simple, but we rarely are present in a moment, given how hectic how lives have been. The fleeting moments in our days might lack grandiosity; often, they are mundane. But the gift of this exercise is that we start finding small joys and meanings that we often overlook in our search for something bigger and better. Again, being present requires our attention.
3. Practice Acceptance
Plenty of our troubles, disappointments, and stress in our lives start to take a backseat once we learn to accept things as they are. Acceptance of our failures or drawbacks brings peace of mind and keeps us from sinking a rabbit hole. The idea is to work towards changing and accepting what we cannot, both in personal and professional lives.
4. Breathing exercises
Breathing exercises go a long way in terms of regulating stress and anxiety. By focusing on our breathing, we can draw attention to how our bodies react to certain distressing situations, and consequently, we can navigate them. The good news? Breathing exercises do not require us to hunt for motivation. We can do these lying down or being seated. All we need to do is take in some deep breaths and pay attention to the passing in and out of our bodies. Dedicating 10 to 15 minutes a day to deep breathing exercises can be highly beneficial.
5. Practice Meditation
Meditation is a crucial mindfulness exercise. Spending a few minutes meditating every day helps keep track of our physical, mental, and spiritual states and wellbeing. Based on our convenience, we can incorporate several meditation methods, be it walking, sitting, or lying down.
While we might be comfortable indulging in a body-scan meditation lying down in the comfort of our homes, we can try incorporating meditation exercises in the workplace as well. All we need to do is sit with our backs straight, hands-on our laps, and our feet flat on the floor. As we breathe in and out, we try to remain aware of all the passing sensations, thoughts, and feelings that we experience in a moment. This will give us a much-needed break from work and steer our minds towards better focus.
Mindfulness is a Way of Life
Mindfulness can quickly become a way of life. Once we invest some time to develop this habit, we can notice a domino effect of positive changes in our everyday routine. It will help us lead a calmer, and more aware life, with a healthier body and mind.
Priyakshi Sharma is a content marketer at Vantage Circle, an employee engagement platform, and Vantage Fit, an all-in-one corporate health and wellness solution. In her free time, she is found writing about cinema, life, and everything in between.