Have you ever wondered what it means to live in the present?
Well, the actual term used for this state of mind of "living in the present" is referred to as "mindfulness". Some of you may have heard of this??
The clinical definition of mindfulness is-
Yes, we do because everyone has the natural ability for being fully present of where they are and what they are doing while not being overly reactive or overwhelmed with what is going on around them. However, the question is a matter of wanting to and allowing our natural abilities to be present is what it truly boils down to.
So how do we allow for living in the present or obtaining this mindfulness?
While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis. Yes, this is a form of living that has to be practiced because in general life doesn't foster these natural abilities with the "always on the go" lifestyles most of us live.
YOU have to decide to bring awareness to what you are directly experiencing via your senses, thoughts and emotions. YOU have to decide to change your state of mind to being mindful or not. Plus there's various research that when you train your brain to the natural state of being mindful, you are actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain. Something to think about..
So how do you practice Mindfulness??
Well, again that depends on you but below are a few ways to include Mindfulness in your daily life-
Remember YOU decide on your state of being and how you live...
Great quote that I am trying to incorporate not only in my personal daily life but also in my private practice--
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally,” says Kabat-Zinn. “And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”
Video below by Jon Kabat-Zinn:
Gentle Breathing (1 minute)- sit comfortably on a chair, with your back straight and both feet on the ground. If you can't sit then you can stand or lay down as straight as you possibly can. Close your eyes and just focus on your breathing. Try to let your thoughts pass and clear your mind from pondering on your thoughts or daydreaming.
Tense and Relax (4 minutes)- Make a fist with your right hand and tense all the way up to your shoulder for 5 seconds then relax for 10 seconds. Do this for each of your body parts- tighten each group of muscle for 5 seconds and relax for 10 seconds before moving on.
Visualize (3 minutes)- Recall a place of peace or a place of contentment or a fond memory that allows you to relax. Use you imagination to reconstruct the place and how you felt when you were there. It can be a beach, the mountains, a field or wherever that brings you peace and relaxation. Let yourself become totally apart of the place in your mind.
Let go (1 minute)- Once you are completely relaxed-mind, body and soul- just let your stress go. Feel and visualize a stream of light or energy moving through your body that is removing the stress up and out as you breath out or as it flows from your hands and feet out. Allow yourself to see a stress free day along with ways you can continue this feeling.
Stretch (1 minute)- While keeping your eyes closed-- go back to just breathing in and out. Enjoy this feeling of calm and peace while you wiggle your fingers and toes. Then while continuing the breathing stretch your arms above your head and stretch your legs. When ready re-open your eyes.
(***Please note you can take longer than the 10 minutes recommended above!)