The Moment

The Moment

How often are you most naturally mindful? When do you find yourself living with awareness in the present moment? Is it when you are engaging in an activity or game? Cooking? Socializing with others?Pursuing a hobby? Something else? Or perhaps do you ever have a feeling that you’re drifting through life, and not going where you want to go? Or that you don’t know how you got where you are today?

In this 'ever-changing' dynamic world we live in, mindfulness is a prevalent topic discussed more than ever these days.From the advancements in technology that influence work and personal life, our lives are often rushed and mashed together in a blur of activity. Our generation is living in an outrageous pace of change. Exciting as it may be, it is vital to take a breath and gather yourself before you face a fresh influx of changes. Mindfulness is one of the most important skills we can develop to navigate our lives with greater ease, self-acceptance, and happiness.

Mindfulness is a state of mind that arises through non-judgemental attentiveness and purposeful intentions. A more spacious manner is created by the practice of mindfulness that is less reactive and generally happier. Simply, mindfulness transforms how we relate to events and experiences in the present.

Among being a scientifically proven approach to reducing stress, decreasing anxiety, improving focus, and supporting heart health, these are just a few of the important benefits of mindfulness. Through countless research studies, mindfulness is proven to support our psychological, cognitive, and physical being. Stress is so relevant these days that mindfulness can be helpful for soothing those unpleasant feelings.Research suggests that it increases density of gray matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy. Increased positive emotions relate to happiness and overall improved well-being of life. While happiness is a pleasant experience,  it also offers protection against disease (morbidity) and even death (mortality).Mindfulness boosts your cognitive abilities, in particular enhancing your sleep and memory. Thus, incorporating more mindfulness improves the chances of recalling information. Furthermore, it heightens the ability to focus and increases creativity. Mindfulness can be compared to the refreshed feeling of returning from a run or walk with a flood of new ideas to tackle a new problem.It reduces mind wandering and potentially increases the capacity in the rest of the brain for extra cognitive processing.

There are a considerable amount of physical benefits from mindfulness that are backed by science,  most notably our genetics and immune functions. Studies have shown that mindfulness improves telomerase activity.This vital enzyme controls cellular aging and ultimately the age-related decline of the entire body. A critical factor in maintaining health is immunity, especially for those with compromised immune function. Mindfulness training optimizes our immune system in addition to reducing stress, fatigue and sleep disturbances.

Bearing all these benefits, how may one practice mindfulness?  Fortunately, each day offers plenty of opportunities — from washing the dishes to waiting in traffic. Several ways of practice exist, but all techniques are various forms of meditation used to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation. The easiest way to practice is to focus on the breath, resting your attention on the inhalation and exhalation repeatedly. Try incorporating a specific word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. At the same time, allow thoughts to come and go without judgment while fixating on breathing or mantra. Another great practice involves tuning in on subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling (without judgment) and letting it drift by. Observe signs, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. Embrace them, feel them, and then let them go.Indeed, emotions affect us largely and often difficult emotions may arise that are present and powerful forces in your life. To calm and soothe yourself, allow the thoughts or emotions to come and go, like clouds passing through the sky. Let emotions be present without judging them and practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: joy, anger, and frustration.  In this state, you have space to reflect and thoughtfully respond, rather than react.

Although the name appears contradicting, mindfulness means to empty the mind, not fill it. An absolutely free way to being the present, it can be beautifully simple and universally accessible. Choose mindfulness and you are guiding yourself to a richer and more vivid experience of the gift of being alive.