I remember one lesson when I was in college, that we need to listen and speak with utmost mindfulness. That way we could grasp what our communication partner said, and we could respond well. It is said that mindfulness is the key in order to have an effective communication.
Apparently, mindfulness is not only important during communication, but we need to live our days with mindfulness.
A famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Kabat-Zinn defined that “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
From that definition we can conclude that mindfulness is becoming aware of your here and now experience, both internally and in the external world. It gives you a space in the present moment, to be able to deal with distressing situation or bad memories of things that might have happened in the past.
If you ever experienced one or more of these things, it may be the sign that you are less mindful:
- Getting lost in thoughts or feelings
- Being preoccupied with the past or the future
- Breaking or spilling things
- You feel anxious and hard to focus on things
- Inattention or thinking about something else
- Daydreaming or thinking of other things while doing chores
- Drowning in reverie
- Doing several things at once rather than focusing on one thing at a time
- Distracting yourself with binge eating, alcohol, drugs, pornography, or work
If it ever happened to you, you are still normal. But you can improve your mindfulness to be more aware with yourself as well as your surroundings.
If you don’t have much time to sit down and meditate, you can use these simple mindfulness exercises to empty your mind and find some calm in the middle of your hectic schedule. You can do these practices anywhere and anytime you want.
Mindful hand exercise
Grasp your hands really tight and hold for a 5 to 10 seconds, then release and pay attention to how your hands feel. Focus on how you feel like your blood is streaming to the tip of your fingers, the tingly sensation or even painful feeling on your palms. Keep your attention focused on the feeling as long as you can.
You can do this exercise by standing up or sitting down, anywhere and anytime. Start by breathing in and out slowly (one cycle should last for approximately 6 seconds). Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let go of your thoughts for a minute. Forget the things you have to do later today or other things that need your attention. Purposely watch your breath, focus on your sense as the air enters your body and fills you with life.
Choose a natural object from within your immediate environment (this could be plant, flowers, the clouds, sky, or insects) and focus on watching it for a minute or two. Don’t do anything except notice the thing you are looking at. Simply relax into a harmony for as long as your concentration allows. Visually explore every aspects of its form, and allow yourself to be consumed by its presence. Let yourself connect with its energy and its role in the natural world.
This exercise is designed to open your ears to sound and voice in a non-judgmental way. Simply select a piece of music you have never heard before. Close your eyes and put on your headphones. Try to not judge the music by its genre, title or artist name before it has begun playing. Allow yourself to get lost to the journey of the sound naturally for the duration of the song.
This exercise aims to cultivate awareness and appreciation of simple daily chores and the result they receive. Simply think of something that happens every day and do that action mindfully. For example, when you sip your cup of coffee every morning. At the every moment you lift the cup, and sip the hot coffee from it; stop for a moment and be mindful of what you are drinking, how it tastes like, how you feel warmth of the coffee filling your body. Appreciate how lucky you are to have that cup of tasty coffee and how it boosts your mood to seize the day.
With regular exercises of mindfulness, it will trigger the ability to attach our mind with the present moment and deal with everything happens in our life with clear and calm mind. It will also eventually set our mind to only have positive thoughts and emotions, that increase compassion and understanding in ourselves as well as our surrounding.