Mindfulness: What is it?
Ever have one of those days where you feel like the day was a whirlwind? That time passed by so fast you can’t remember what the heck you did or how you did it? Suddenly, its 6pm, and you literally have no idea where your day went.
What you do know is that you are exhausted. And you feel like you did 21352523464234652 things.
It seems we all have that feeling…quite regularly these days. That feeling that time has slipped by you yet again.
And time IS slipping by. Because we so busy now that we are are experiencing life in autopilot mode.
We just go about our days, doing our daily tasks, lost in our own minds. And before we know it, it’s the end of the day and it’s time to go to bed. Then we go to sleep, wake up, and repeat the whole cycle again.
What is autopilot mode?
Let’s use the example of driving your car to work: you leave your house, time passes, and you suddenly arrive at your workplace and you have no idea how you got there. I mean, sure you KNOW how you got there, you drove yourself! But you weren’t really paying attention to HOW you got there. You are so used to driving the car to work that you no longer pay attention to the route or the process.
This same principle applies to other daily activities: washing the dishes, waiting in line at Starbucks, folding laundry. How often do you even pay attention to what you are doing during these activities? Or are you listening to the music, playing on your phone, or daydreaming?
The truth is most of us are just not paying attention anymore.
And this is what leads to exhaustion. Feeling overwhelmed and stressed, like you can’t shut your mind off. Like you did do 21352523464234652 things today but you can’t really remember any of them.
We are no longer living in the present.
Instead, we are thinking about things we need to do, other people, conversations we need to have or have had, basically ANYTHING other than the present moment. We are exhausting ourselves with our thoughts.
It is time to give your mind a break!
The good news is there is a really easy way to fix this:
Yep, that’s it. It is seriously that simple. Mindfulness sounds like a fancy, complicated term, but it is really not. It is just learning to experience the present.
[Tweet “The best way to capture moments is to pay attention – Jon Kabat-Zinn”]
Mindfulness is such a simple yet powerful practice that it is now used to treat a variety of issues, including stress, anxiety disorders, eating issues, and depression.
Here is how to do it:
The best way to start is to make a point each day of paying attention during one of your daily autopilot activities. For example, if you are used to washing the dishes on autopilot, set an intention of paying attention while washing the dishes. Use your senses to pay attention to the experience. Notice how the dishes feel on your hands, how the water feels on your skin. Notice how dirty or clean each dish is. Take note of how the dish soap smells. And pay attention to the sounds of the water running. If your thoughts wander, just come back to the feeling in your hands from washing the dish.
Once this practice becomes more familiar, you can begin to apply it to other daily tasks as well.
And once you are done, take a deep breath, smile, and be proud of yourself for taking the first step towards living a more mindful life!
So what do you think? Sound like something you could incorporate into your daily routine?