Mind, Body, Spirit & Meditation

     

What Are The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is most commonly known as the Zen Buddhist practice of becoming fully focused and aware in the present moment. Did you know that the average person rarely focuses only on the present moment? More often our thoughts are racing ahead to think about the future, or getting stuck in regret as we think about the past. The problem with this habit is that by removing our focus from the present moment we miss out on an opportunity to live as fully and richly as we could right now.

Practicing mindfulness is a great way to bring your focus back to the present, and the good news is that anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a meditation master to conquer your scattered thoughts, and one peek at the benefits of mindfulness should convince you that it’s worth trying:

  • Inner peace
  • Stronger focus
  • Deeper spiritual connection
  • Emotional detachment
  • Mental clarity
  • Inner balance

Sounds great, doesn’t it? If you’re ready to give it a go, here’s a very simple way to begin practicing mindfulness:

First, it’s a good idea to choose a “trigger” that will remind you to bring your thoughts back to the present. You’ll want to choose something that happens frequently throughout the day, like every time you walk through a doorway, or every time you glance at a clock. Set this trigger in your mind during a meditation performed the first day you want to begin practicing mindfulness.

Get into a relaxed state by taking a few slow, deep breaths and focus on quieting your mind. Then recite an intention similar to this: “Today I am reminded to practice mindfulness each time I see a clock or hear the current time mentioned by someone else. In the very instant I become aware of time I am able to quickly let go of scattered thoughts and turn my attention fully on the present moment with joy, peace and gratitude.”

Repeat the intention out loud a few times, letting the message soak into your subconscious mind. Then continue with your day like normal.

From that moment on, every time you see a clock or hear someone else mention the time, you should immediately be reminded to detach from scattered thoughts, stress, anxiety, anger, or any other errant thoughts or emotions, and focus only on right now.

Be sure your focus is not one of anxiety or fear! Let the future take care of itself, and let the past rest. Embrace the present moment with absolute serenity. If it helps, try reciting a mantra during your mindfulness moments, such as “All is well right now.”

Keep your focus on the present moment for as long as you can, and give your full attention to any task you’re doing at the time. In fact, be sure to practice mindfulness while you’re doing mundane chores or activities! These are the activities that usually inspire us to “zone out” and let our minds drift off, so it will take some discipline and determination to keep your thoughts in the present moment.

The ultimate goal is, of course, to be in a state of mindfulness ALL THE TIME. However, it will probably take time for you to achieve that level of control. As with all new habits, mindfulness takes time to master. Taming errant thoughts is similar to herding sheep. They keep moving off in random directions and you have to keep redirecting them where you want them to go!

Just be persistent and patient and in no time at all you’ll feel more comfortable with the technique.

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