Is mindfulness just the latest overhyped buzzword? The simple answer to that is it isn’t. Mental health has gained the spotlight among the world’s issues and people are steadily taking it seriously. The final nail that drove in the point was when the World Health Organization recognized it as an official medical condition.
One study found that 23% of full-time employees go through burnout “very often or always.” Not that alarming? Another 44% of those working full-time say they experience it “sometimes.” That’s a whopping 67% of the currently employed workforce. Whether you’re going through it, have undergone it, or never did, mindfulness is an arsenal you need for your mental defenses to climb out of it and prevent in the future.
What is Mindfulness?
It means focusing on the “now,” being aware and attentive solely to the present moment, embracing it as it is without criticizing. Another way of looking at it is recognizing and understanding the emotions and thoughts you have immediately without allowing them to dictate how you react to your situation.
The mind rarely stays on what’s directly in front of us and often steers into either the past or the present, which can result in problems namely depression and anxiety. Eastern religions developed the concept of mindfulness to rein in the brain when it wanders off before it spirals into negative and unproductive thoughts.
Why Mindfulness is a Superpower
Picture not worrying about the future like if you’ll be able to reach your dreams or not or losing sleep over a painful memory resurfacing. You’ll be staying calm through the morning traffic and workplace mishap.
What would you do if we told you that level of peace is possible? It wouldn’t be perfect and some days would be harder than the rest but that means some are easier, too. You’d still want it, right? That’s what mindfulness offers.
How to Practice Mindfulness
Take 5-15 minutes a day to practice mindfulness. Doing it in the mornings or right after you wake up would be an ideal way to start your day. Follow these steps:
- Find a relatively quiet area. If your neighborhood isn’t really a peaceful one, don’t worry too much about it. Make use of what you have or schedule it during a time when activity considerably lessens.
- Relax in a sitting position on a comfortable spot and close your eyes. Again, your bed would be fine but try not to fall asleep.
- Repeat a word over and over again as you breathe in and out. Even a syllable like “om” would do.
- Notice your breathing pattern and your heartbeat. Take note of any other bodily sensations you’re feeling.
- Next, expand your attention to other things going on around you, the different stimuli your senses pick up like sounds, scents and others. Don’t form opinions about them, merely recognize their presence.
- Dig into your emotions. What are they? Name them and be specific. Are you happy? Sad? Frustrated? Don’t judge yourself for these, same as you shouldn’t for other things you sensed. Accept them all the same.
- Continue breathing deeply and repeating your chosen word or syllable. If your mind wanders during the exercise, simply bring it back until your five minutes are up.