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We live in busy times. We’re constantly bombarded with information at work, at home and even while we’re on the go through mobile devices. We’re anxious about the future and worry about what we’ve done in the past. As a society, we live anywhere but in the present. This lack of mindfulness results in unwanted stress and a constant feeling that we’re missing out. Becoming more mindful is the best way to combat these tendencies to live in the past or future and to help eliminate some of the distractions we are subjected to.
At this point, you may be wondering what this mindfulness is all about. It is basically the ability to be fully present and aware of where you are and what you are doing right at this moment. It’s about living each moment to its fullest and no longer allowing distractions big or small to constantly interrupt you. Will you be able to be mindful every single moment? Of course not. In fact, most of us spend only a very small amount of time in a true state of mindfulness. The goal is to simply do it more often and for longer periods of time and meditation helps us do just that.
By definition, meditation is a state of thoughtless awareness. Think of it as a workout to get better at being mindful. You actively practice mindfulness while you’re meditating. Just like working out your body with exercise, you not only get better at meditating itself, you’ll also become more mindful throughout the rest of your day.
There’s a very simple way to use meditation to practice mindfulness. Set aside a few minutes each day, five to ten minutes is enough at the start and do a simple breathing meditation. Sit quietly in a comfortable position and focus all your attention and awareness on your breath. It sounds easy, although it won’t take long before thoughts come up that are trying to command your attention. Bring yourself back to the sensation of breathing in and out. As you practice this mindfulness meditation daily, you’ll get better at tuning out distractions and avoiding other thoughts. Eventually, you’ll also be able to meditate for longer stretches of time.
The end goal as I mentioned before is to become more mindful throughout the rest of your life. This will start to happen automatically once you meditate regularly. Pay attention to it and you’ll notice that your thoughts are more centered in the present and you no longer sweat the small stuff as much as you did before. You’ll find balance and peace returning to your life and that’s a very good thing.