Ever wondered Why is being mindful important? It is said that mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the present moment. Something so simple but so complex, something so clear and yet so complex, as all of us are spinning through time travelling from one moment to another. In our busy lives, it can be easy to forget what’s happening right now, even if we have a full calendar of plans for the week ahead.
Mindfulness has been described as a psychological state of awareness in which one is consciously aware of the present moment. This is achieved by focusing on our thoughts, feelings or intentions from a non-judgmental perspective. In other words, being aware of how you feel without assigning good or bad labels to them.
This can be a challenging discipline, particularly in a world where we are constantly moving and thinking about something else. However with practice it can become easier and easier to find this stillness within us and just be.
Mindfulness has been shown in studies to have positive effects on anxiety and depression too and is linked with improved physical health and wellbeing. Mindfulness is a skill that can be cultivated and practiced, as with any skill, the more we practice for the better we become at it.
Here are a few ideas on how to begin your mindfulness practice:
1) Set aside some time
Notice how you feel about setting aside time to practice mindfulness. You need to get used to the idea of devoting this amount of time for yourself and it can take some time to adjust. It is important for us, however, that we become more aware of our thoughts and emotions rather than just accepting them without question or analysis. Make this amount of time up in advance and stick with it over the course of a few weeks, perhaps every other evening say 4:30-6:00pm and decide what will be your ‘mindful activity’.
2) Set up your environment
You want to create the right environment for you to be able to sit comfortably for this time. It can be hard work, so choose somewhere where you can sit or lie down without distraction – perhaps try one of these ideas below:
To help ensure your body is comfortable and relaxed, you might like to invest in a meditation cushion or pillow. This can be placed on top of a flat/folding chair (see photo above).
Comfortable chair (with cushion)
You can find many chairs with high backs which are comfortable and provide back support. If the chair is too hard, put a cushion on it or make sure you are wearing loose-fitting clothes. sit up sit fully upright, place your hands in your lap and be aware of your body. If you are sitting on a chair with arms, keep them by the sides of your body.
If you don’t have a meditation cushion or armchair, lying down on a firm bed is an option. Or you could attempt to get into a reclining position on your sofa/bed/couch without too many creases! Lie down wherever it’s most comfortable for you and place pillows under your head or by your side if needed to support yourself or adjust the position so you don’t over-stretch. Be aware of your body, the floor underneath you and how it feels to be in this position. If you are lying on a sofa or bed try to make sure there are no distractions around you.
Decide where you will practice your mindfulness. You need somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed – music may be too much of a distraction, even if it helps to relax you. Because this space will become your space for practicing mindfulness, try to make it as ‘homey’ as possible for relaxation so that it becomes a familiar place for being still and being comfortable.
Start this time with an intention or affirmation or short mantra. A few of the mantras we offer for meditation include:
1) Aam Twam Ayam – meaning ‘am’ in Sanskrit – I am;
2) Namaste – meaning ‘I bow to you’,
3) Om Aatshema Namaha – meaning ‘the holy sound Om in Sanskrit; and
4) Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
Why Is Being Mindful Important? Conclusion
Mindfulness is a skill that can be used and practised and it doesn’t need to be difficult or complicated. It takes practice, patience and energy to keep it up, but the rewards are many.
In the meantime, have a practice of being mindful moving throughout your day or evening to help with this transition from one moment to another.