Practicing Mindfulness
4:10:13 2023-09-24 158

1- Be present in the moment. Think about how much time you've wasted through the years by dwelling on things you can't change from the past, or worrying about things you can't predict or alter in the future. It can cause you a lot of stress and anxiety when you get lost in that way of thinking, especially when you recognize how powerless you are to alter the past or future. The only thing you can change is this present moment right now, and it starts with being mindful of where you are, what you're doing, and what is happening around you.

  • Observe what is happening around you without judgment.
  • Simply notice your environment and any events unfolding around you.
  • Try to describe (in your head, or out loud) your surroundings or any events happening in your immediate environment. Focus on concrete, observable sensory information.
  • Notice how you fit in with your environment. As you breathe in the air around you, walk across the ground, or sit quietly, recognize without judgment that you are temporarily a part of this place.


2- Eliminate distractions. There are many things that might distract you from enjoying a moment. In addition to the countless thoughts running through your head, you might easily become distracted by your electronic device(s). Incoming text messages, phone calls, emails, and social media updates can all distract you from whatever you're trying to do. Whether you want to spend quality time with others, or simply sit alone in a calm environment, your cellphone (or your friends' phones) can quickly ruin the moment.

  • Personal devices like cellphones and tablets can distract you from a moment, whether it's a moment spent alone or with others.
  • Try scheduling your device usage, making time for device-free activities, or simply turning your phone off when you're trying to enjoy a moment alone or with others.



3- Ignore fleeting thoughts. It's easy to feel as though your thoughts are in control, especially during a crisis or moments of anxiety. But it's important to remember during these moments that you have the power to decide whether or not to engage with a given thought. With practice and mindfulness, you can eventually observe your thoughts and choose whether to dwell in those thoughts or let them pass you by.

  • An important component of mindfulness is accepting your thoughts as they are, without judging them, holding onto them, or resisting them.
  • Remember that your thoughts are immaterial. They only gain meaning when you give them meaning.
  • Do not try to push unpleasant thoughts away, as this may only make your mind dwell on the discomfort of that thought. Similarly, do not try to grasp at pleasant thoughts.
  • Imagine each thought that drifts into your mind like clouds floating across the sky.
  • If you do not like a particular thought, simply wait without engaging it and it will slowly pass by and drift away.


4- Let go of the past. It can be very easy to get lost in memories. There's nothing wrong with enjoying your past success or learning from your past mistakes - in fact, you actually should do those things. But dwelling on things that are no longer around or relevant, or obsessing about things you can't do anything about (like wishing you'd said/done something differently) will only cause you stress and anxiety.[9]

  • It's important to recognize that there is nothing you can do in the present moment that can alter the past.
  • Once you accept that you cannot change the past, you begin to take away its power over you.
  • Think to yourself, "I cannot change the past, so what good will it do to worry about it?"
  • Even though you cannot do anything to alter the past, you do have the option of controlling the present. By living mindfully, you determine how to live in this very moment.

5- Avoid thinking about the future. You might be thinking about the future in anticipation (like waiting for the weekend) or in dread (like contemplating how bad Monday will be when your weekend is over). It's good to be motivated by your ambitions for the future, but dwelling on the future in any way makes you lose track of the present. It can make fun times go by more quickly, or it can fill you with a sense of dread as you anticipate things that you can't control in this moment.[10]

  • When you think about the future, you forfeit your ability to fully be present in this very moment.
  • Avoid looking at your watch, checking your cellphone, or anticipating anything that isn't relevant to what you're doing right now.
  • Instead of getting caught up in what might/will happen, practice mindfulness and work to be present in this very moment.
  • In this very moment you can decide how to act, what to say, which thoughts to engage with, and what mindset you will hold on to. These choices will affect your future, so it's important to make the most of what you can do in the here and now.


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