Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment.
Meditation is a focused period of time observing one’s mind and experience.
Mindfulness has enriched my life in a way that I wouldn’t have ever imagined. It may sound extra but it really has had a positive impact on the quality on my life, simply by noticing what’s in front of me.
Here are a few of the benefits that being mindful has had on me:
Being at One with The Present Moment
We spend a significant proportion of our lives lost in thought. I came across a study which found, roughly 47% of participants waking hours were not thinking about what is going on. Essentially, that is half of life that we’re not really here for and ultimately missing out on. As you may or may not know being lost in thought looks like worrying about a past that’s gone, preparing for a future that’s yet to come, attempting to read a mind you cannot read, daydreaming, among many other things that distract you from what is going on right now.
Being more mindful has helped me live life through a new lens, I now understand that the present moment is the only moment we can truly operate from and make meaningful change; which has enabled me to think more clearly and make better decisions.
Increase in Patience
Sitting still, although simple is far from easy. It takes a lot of patience to sit for a specific period of time, even if it’s only for a minute. I believe it’s because we have learned to think that busy = productive but being busy for being busies sake is just a waste of time. You may also find meditating hard because sitting doing nothing doesn’t really seem like a very attractive option. And lastly, because someone or something is always grabbing your attention.
I’m not doing a good job of selling this mindfulness thing to you am I?
What I’m trying to say, is that overtime you become aware of what’s disrupting you and instead of attempting to dismiss it you simply acknowledge it because that is a part of the experience.
It took me a while, but when I meditate now I no longer get frustrated when my family members walk in, or feel (well rarely) the urge to check how many minutes I’ve got left of the practice.
You learn to sit with what is.
Not often are we able to get away from the distractions of external stimuli.
Mindful meditation and mindfulness in general teaches you how to become the observer of your experience. During the formal practices you’re able to witness how your mind jumps from one thought to the next as well as observing the content of your thoughts. It’s interesting because self-observation is an opportunity for self-reflection and in doing so you are getting to know yourself.
In day to day life we “do” but don’t really take the time to actually experience.
The more aware you are of yourself and your environment the better able you are to navigate through life.
Garrain Jones said “you cannot change what you are not aware of”. An increased awareness brings more clarity and clarity brings choice, without clarity one is essentially living in the dark, and unaware of the great things life has to offer.
Being aware means you give yourself the opportunity to welcome the things that present themselves right in front of you.
Appreciation for the Little Things
You notice more when you’re mindful, by definition it’s paying attention to the present moment.
I’ve gained more value from my day by attending to the subtleties of life, which I would have otherwise taken for granted; these are the birds singing, people laughing, flowers blossoming, the sun setting, the wind against my skin, being in a room surrounded by loved ones as well as many other things.
We can easily forget how lucky we are when going through the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I believe it’s important to recognise and appreciate how good life is despite some of the unfortunate circumstances that occur on a wider scale. This helps to reduce levels of stress as well as increase our happiness.
Improved Quality of Interpersonal Relationships
You can think of this as a net effect of the benefits I have just mentioned: an increase in patience, being one with the present moment, an increase in self-awareness as well as an increased appreciation of life have all had a positive influence on the quality of my relationships. This is with my family, friends, work colleagues and even strangers.
I’m taking more time to think before I do, meaning I am responding as opposed to reacting. This is so useful because when you react it’s your emotions that run wild and you can end up saying something you didn’t really mean and get irate for no real reason. All of which could’ve easily been avoided if you paused and took a few deep breaths to gather yourself.
It has helped me become less judgmental and more open too! As I’m constantly reminded that anyone can bring something of value to the table.
I’ve only touched on a few but there are so many benefits of learning to live life in the present moment. Honestly, I can’t see any downside of introducing mindfulness into your life.
All I encourage, is that you pay attention to what’s happening right in that moment.