Mindfulness: The Known Yet Misunderstood

practicing benefits of mindfulness

There are times when people are physically active in their lives, but their brain isn’t fully present in the endeavor but wandering elsewhere, deep …

Photo: Seika

There are times when people are physically active in their lives, but their brain isn’t fully present in the endeavor but wandering elsewhere, deep in thought of a different dimension of life, a dimension that is more comforting and acceptable for the human brain. Most people aren’t aware of this trick that their mind plays on them to hide away from a difficult situation because confrontations can be hard. Coping up with the actualities of life can be shattering, so it seems safe to avoid being fully in the present and let life go by without really dealing with internal and external conflicts that may disrupt our lives.

Being mindful is simply being aware of the environment and people that one is surrounded by, and one’s actions; it’s a state of enlightenment. However, it is not as simple as it sounds because being heedful requires a person to adapt an observational state of mind and pay attention to everything that happens, and everything that he does, not to pass judgment or to analyze the situation but merely to able to accept the realities of life. Living in denial may seem comforting for a short period of time, but leaving this state can be hard if we don’t make a conscious effort to face the truth.

Life has a lot to offer, there is good and bad but we won’t be able to fully enjoy the good and face the bad if we don’t truly live in the present. All the memories will be questionable because a person who is not mindful will not remember his life as an experience that he lived, but as a story, he told. Mindfulness is the state of taking the observational status of life so that we are stronger to face the difficulties and accepting our life for what it is, and more importantly, it is a way of being reflective of who we are and what we stand for. Once this art is mastered; the difficult times become less frightening and the good times are more gratifying.

There are ways to which one can become more mindful of his actions and surroundings, they take practice and undivided attention but after a certain period of time, the awareness comes naturally, and it won’t require an effort as such. Some of these methods are as follows.

Be More Conscious of Your Thoughts

The mind loves to wander and explore, but before you know it, you lose track of your thought process. If you start paying attention to your thoughts, and the emotions that those thoughts trigger, your understanding of yourself will become more profound. This act of introspection can be liberating for the mind and the soul because you will be able to realize what gets you excited, and what makes you anxious, things that upset you and people who bring joy to your life will become more evident. Ultimately, this exercise can make the road to happiness clearer.

The way you can incorporate this cognizant state is fairly simple, for instance, notice the thoughts that you have as soon as you wake up, do these feelings change after you’ve eaten something?

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Retrace your thought process when you get angry, and understand that what triggered this anger. Notice the impact music has on your mood, does a certain genre calm you?

Pay Attention to Physical Habits

Humans are irrational creatures; hence emotions get the best of us, so we don’t pay attention to the physical movements aligned with our emotions. For instance, how do we react when we’re angry, or how do we express joy. The people around us notice these habits that are otherwise beyond our conscious awareness and so sometimes, people who we are close to knowing us better than we know ourselves. To be the best judge of who you are, you should focus on the little things, like how your mood changes due to lack of food, or how fast your heart beats when you’re anxious. This way you will have more control over yourself, and ultimately your life as more control leads to better decisions.

These activities of gaining consciousness in its true sense can be tedious and frustrating because the mind will wander away multiple times, but the trick is to be able to bring it back to the present. The best way to do this is by acknowledging these surfaced emotions and going back to observing your task and the way you carry it out.

Once you truly start observing, you will analyze that some thoughts or feelings creep in every time you are doing something mundane. They are constantly recurring. So through this new state of mind, you can trace back to the reason why these emotions keep surfacing and fix the problem that you didn’t even know was ever there, to begin with.

One should keep in mind that the recognition of the issue is just the first step, being able to constructively solve the problem is another level of mindfulness. Some people tend to consider worrying as problem-solving, but that is just circling a particular thought and getting anxious rather than taking action. The idea is first to observe how many times does one worry in a day, not criticize it, and just acknowledge the emotion. This exercise is therapeutic in itself because once you realize that you’ve been worrying so much about a certain issue, you automatically disperse the thoughts and attain peace.

The Learning

We shouldn’t worry so much about being mindful that we forget what we’re mindful about. It is something that takes a lot of practice and effort, can be exhausting even. Nonetheless, surmounting the difficulties of excelling this art can be rewarding because it is a path that leads to the end of suffering and beginning of a rejuvenated and relaxed life. You discover a whole new side of you that you wouldn’t have known existed otherwise. It leads to happiness and spiritual relief because there is nothing more liberating than being in control of your emotions and actions.

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Featured Image Courtesy: Seika

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