How do you practice mindfulness? You can start acknowledging the need for mindfulness.
We live in a world that moves at a fast rate. Everyone has a place to be and is in a hurry. We are all in a hurry to succeed, improve, outperform, achieve, and acquire, always hunting for the next best thing. Ironically, our insatiable need to improve is one of the things that keeps us from advancing.
When you are continuously worrying about the future, you are not living in the present moment, or as we like to call it, the "now". The same issue exists if you are always thinking about the past.
Living in the present moment, or practicing mindfulness, does not prevent you from planning ahead of time or looking forward to the future. It simply means that you give your undivided attention to what you are doing right now and take the time to appreciate and be appreciative for the experience. "Imagine the impact of our deeds if each one held one hundred percent of our attention," wrote Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Mindfulness not only benefits our relationships, but it also boosts our productivity and leads to greater success in all aspects of our lives.
Take a moment as you read this to become aware of the thoughts that are running through your head. Are you planning on doing something tomorrow? What about the dirty dishes in the sink? Concerned about the unread emails in your inbox? These ideas keep you from being present in the current moment and devoting your entire attention to what you are doing right now.
When your dog asks you to play, you can see that he enjoys it when you chase him around the house with his favorite toy while he plays keep-away. Then, you become conscious of your thoughts while chasing him. You may be thinking, "I can only do this for a minute", and "I need to go back to doing what I was doing". When you do this, you are not enjoying the act of playing with your dog and, by not paying full attention to what you are doing, you are cheating both of you out of the delight of the moment.
How many times a day, especially with our children, do we have comparable experiences? When we have so many things on our minds and so many things to accomplish, it might be difficult to focus on child's play. Our failure to be fully present in the moment has a negative impact on our relationships with our children. Children can tell when you are not paying attention to them or when your mind is elsewhere. They have a considerably higher level of intuition than adults. We are all born with the potential to feel happy in the present moment, but this crucial attribute is inhibited as we mature and are influenced by our surroundings.
Mindfulness is a difficult topic to grasp and perfect. We live in a multitasking society. But all of this multitasking has led to an increase in our discontent with our lifestyles. We are busier than ever before, but also more dissatisfied. We frequently do a lot of things yet fail miserably at any of them. We will be eternally unsatisfied with our life if we are unable to take the time to appreciate what we have right now, in this very minute.
So, how can you put mindfulness into practice? The first step is simply recognizing the need for mindfulness. When you become conscious, you will notice yourself having rushing thoughts and will remember to slow down. Try devoting your undivided focus to every task, whether it is doing the dishes, mowing the grass, or holding your child. Consider simply what you are doing at the time, how it feels, the sights, sounds, and scents. Take the time to notice the delight in the mundane.
Have you ever witnessed a tea ceremony? Did you observe how the person pouring the tea takes their time and always uses two hands to pick up the tea kettle and cups? A tea ceremony is a mindfulness practice. By taking time and utilizing both hands to complete each activity, the mind is completely focused on the act of drinking tea.
Finally, remember to take deep breaths. It sounds simple, but when we are stressed or anxious, we have an inclination to hold our breath for a moment and then breathe quickly and shallowly the rest of the time. To relax your mind and settle rushing thoughts, take deep breaths with extended exhales. We may control the mind by controlling the breath.