Practicing Mindfulness: Staying In The Present
Awhile ago I became aware of the concept of mindfulness. I was going through a tough time and looking for different methods of meditation just to quiet my mind. I ran across a site dedicated to the practicing mindfulness, I read a few articles and was in awe of the concept of being totally aware of the present, the “now”, if you would.
My mind is so busy, almost frantic. It jumps from one thought to another, the past to the future. So many time I don’t even analyze the thought. This is very mentally draining. At the end of the day, I’ll be so mentally exhausted.
After doing some research, I realized that only a few of my thoughts were actually focused on the present and if I focused on just the present my mind would be less erratic, less cluttered.
But moving my mind into the true present is not an easy task. I have lived inside my head for a long time. Sometimes wondering what could have been or thinking about what could be, but all too often never paying attention to what is.
Staying in the present means experiencing the moment you’ll in right this moment. It means being aware of your senses, of your emotions, of your breath. Consider what you’re doing right now, you’re reading. Notice your thoughts, are thinking about the words that are in front of you or on something else, like whether you remembered to take something out for dinner (my actually thought while typing this.)
Not being present is easy especially in the digital age. But here are a few tips to help you (and me) stay in the present.
Be Aware – Pay attention to what you are doing at any given moment. Experience the moment. The next time you wash dishes notice how the water feel on your hand as you search for something to clean in the water. Think only about washing dishes, if your thoughts move from washing dishes, that’s fine, when you realize your thoughts are off course, just reel in your wondering mind. How does the dish detergent smell? What is the temperature of the kitchen? How do you feel in the moment? You make have to call out what your experiencing. That’s okay, you made feel silly at first and your family may think you’ve gone a little bonkers at first but it really helps, especially if you use to mind noise. Your mind become quieter the more you practice staying in the present, it can be a little unsettling at first.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT Multitask – I swear by multi-tasking, I wouldn’t get anything done if I didn’t multitask, but I am learning that multitasking is really just a way to look busy when you’ll BS-ing. I’m realizing that single-tasking more effectively causes me to stress less and focus more on what I’m doing.
When you have too much on your plate at one time, what tends to happen is that we pass through your day without really experiencing it. We become stress, start to have negative thoughts, and feel anxious.
Let Go of Mind Noise – This is what I call thoughts that crowd the mind from the present. They’re any thoughts that take your mind away from the present, usually they’re thoughts about the past or of the future. Recognize when mind noise is blocking the present. Take a breath. Breathe in and let it out through your nose and bring the mind back to the present.
Actually being in the present is great for your mental well-being. Try staying present throughout the day, start small, like when you’re doing something you enjoy. Do it for a short time, try 15 minutes. Then try it for longer periods, until it becomes second nature. You’ll be surprised the mental clarity once the mind is stil.
How do you stay in the present? I love to hear what you do.
May God be with You until we meet again.