Mindfulness: Expert Ways to Live in the Now!

Mindfulness is a way of being.  It is awareness of the present moment.  When we are being mindful, we are aware of ourselves right now, and deliberately excluding thoughts about the future, the past, or of present distractions.  It is paying attention to whatever is going on at this moment.

It is easy to pay attention to something that has a lot of action.  The producers of the summer “blockbuster” action movies have figured that out and do their best to capture an audience with noise, combat, and explosive motion.

Attention to the quiet and in the quiet is a more challenging task.

Any one who is planning to lose weight has seen the suggestion to be mindful of eating when having a meal.  This means to concentrate on and be aware of the food and of the process of eating it.  It requires us to avoid television and reading when we are eating.

Mindful eating is easy when it is ice cream.

Mindful eating is easy when it is ice cream.

One of the ways people are taught to manage pain is to be aware of the pain in the present.  To notice how it is right now, to notice that it varies, and to notice these changes in the quality and the intensity of the pain.

Of course another way to manage pain is to be aware of something else, to be distracted from something painful by concentrating on an image, or a memory that will be more pleasant.

Learning mindfulness will be beneficial for everyone because it will give you skills in staying present, or going to a place that you choose.

A simple mindfulness exercise is given below.  For those who want to learn more specific ways to be mindful, see the section on Meditation which has exercises ranging from a simple breathing meditation to somewhat more complex meditations using imagery.

                                                   Being Mindful

Sit in a comfortable chair, or lie in a comfortable position.  If you want, set a timer for a period of time, perhaps 5 or 10 minutes.

Start by noticing how different areas of your body feel.  How does your head feel, your hands, the backs of your heels, your stomach?

Notice your breathing, How do your lungs feel as the air goes in and then out of your body.  How does your nose feel to you during your breathing.  Do you breathe through your nose or through your mouth? When you breathe deeply do you expand your chest or do you expand your abdomen?

What thoughts go through your mind?  Can you recognize that they are thoughts, and allow them to come and go?  Just let them go.

Calm

Calm

What are your emotions as you go through this process?  Allow any feeling, and recognize what it is, happiness, anxiety, sadness, contentment, simply accept them.

Once your timer has gone off. take a deep breath, stretch, and thank yourself for giving your self this time to become familiar with your present.