This post is the first in a series on MINDFULNESS by Laurie Moffitt.
Mindfulness is showing up on the news and in mainstream magazines. I recently watched a health report and read articles on using mindfulness to increase focus and reduce stress. I believe that living in the moment can reduce stress, improve health, affect mood and increase the joy found in daily life. The concept of mindfulness can be difficult to understand and hard to practice. Mindfulness is not just a technique. It is a lifestyle. This blog post focuses on my understanding of living mindfully.
How many times have you driven somewhere and saw nothing that you passed? Have you ever eaten a meal without really tasting it? How many times have you hung up the phone unable to remember what you talked about? Many of us live on autopilot. We work, play and connect with others without thinking, without seeing things around us and without listening. Most of us are physically present while our minds are somewhere else. Multi-tasking has become a way of life. Doing more than one thing at a time is valued at work, school and in our social lives. With our phones in our pockets and instant access to the internet, we can receive a constant stream of communication. Technology has made it easy to talk on the phone while driving, check our work email on vacation and attend to our social lives without leaving our living rooms. Mindfulness allows us to stop this frantic pace and breathe.
Living mindfully requires that we are present and aware of sights, sounds and feelings occurring each moment. It is the ability to slow down the constant brain chatter, stop judging people, places and things and start absorbing life. When practicing mindfulness we practice observing without judgment or criticism. Just focusing on what is. Acknowledge your feelings, thoughts and beliefs.
If you are eating, eat. Turn off the television, your phone and your music. Allow the quiet to exist. Sit down, relax, clear your head and do nothing, but eat. Be aware of the taste, smell and texture of your food. Eat slowly. Savor each bite. Use all of your senses. Experience the meal. You may be surprised how much you enjoy the meal. Your body will feel renewed, revived and comfortable. The urge to overeat will be gone. The heartburn that you experienced after wolfing down a meal while catching up on your communication, watching the news and answering the telephone will be gone and replaced with a sense of peace.
Future blogs will contain suggestions on using mindfulness to help reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. Please contact your doctor for a complete physical and diagnosis. Individual therapy may help address your personal needs. The thoughts and ideas in this blog are based on my experience, education and training. I hope you continue to follow as we begin a new journey one-step at a time.