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So you’ve heard about mindfulness and it seemed interesting to you.
But you aren’t quite sure what it is or how can it benefit you or how to apply it in your life.
Well, now that you are here, I am gonna help you get a complete idea about mindfulness.
Before getting started, we need to understand something about our mental modes.
The Default Mode
I want you to think about a fun game you are not good at.
Brain-teasers, Puzzles, Riddles, or whatever it is. Let’s say you are not good at puzzles.
Now, if I challenge you to a game of puzzles, what would be your first reaction?
Do you start to think like this:
“I am not good at puzzles, how am I gonna solve it?”
“OMG! This is so difficult. I’m gonna look stupid if I don’t solve it”
If you do think like this, let me assure you, every one of us thinks like this with something we are not good at.
We start to judge our abilities and become anxious about our performance. This negativity puts stress on us which in turn, does not help to solve the puzzle at all.
This is how our mind works on the default mode.
All reactive, judgemental, and critical of ourselves.
How many times have you reacted in default mode at your school exams, or at an interview, or in a business situation?
If you have, I think you would agree that it does not have any benefit at all.
Now let’s understand the second mode of our mind.
The Mindful Mode
What is Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
This is how Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness, who is a renowned psychologist and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts.
Just like our default mode, it’s a mode of mind we can operate on. Except that it’s completely opposite of the default mode.
Instead of being reactive and overwhelmed by the situation, we become aware of the situation and what we are doing each moment. This gives us immense clarity on how to take control of the situation and what we should do to help ourselves.
Operating in the mindful mode means we are actively paying attention to our experience by becoming aware of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, without judging that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel.
We simply accept our experience as it is without getting caught up in them and just be there in moment-after-moment, absolutely free from distractions.
Being in the mindful mode has a lot of benefits backed by research.
Let’s look at them next.
Why should you activate the Mindful Mode?
Benefits of Mindfulness
Many studies have shown that even within a couple of weeks of practice, Mindfulness can bring a variety of physical, psychological, and social benefits. Some of them are:
1. Boosts our Immunity [Source]
2. Reduces negative emotions and stress [Source]
3. Improves focus and other cognitive abilities [Source]
4. Improves creativity [Source]
5. Helps in pain management [Source]
Mindfulness can be a primary way to enhance health and performance for some people. For others, it can be about exploring spirituality or more of themselves.
Many studies also claim that mindfulness helps to improve one’s sense of self, helps to fight obesity, fosters compassion and altruism, reduces anger, enhances relationships, and makes one more resilient to hardships.
Mindfulness practice is good for teens and school goers, parents, and parents-to-be, for business professionals, for health-care professionals, and for veterans as well.
Mindfulness is a basic human ability we all possess within ourselves. We just don’t know how to access it more often, especially when we need it. And, for this reason, we need to cultivate it through proven techniques.
How to activate the Mindful Mode?
Practice Mindfulness in 20 Simple Steps
There are many different practices through which you can cultivate mindfulness in your daily life. However, you have to consciously make time for the practice on a daily basis.
I am gonna share a simple 20 step process to practice mindfulness daily. All you require is a couple of minutes from your schedule and your dedication.
Simple 20 Step Process to Practice Mindfulness:
1. Find A Quiet Place
2. Set A Time Limit (5~10mins For A Beginner)
3. Get Comfortable – Close Your Eyes
4. Breathe Normally
5. Focus Your Attention On The Shoulders
6. Breathe Out And Relax
7. Focus Your Attention On The Arms
8. Breathe Out And Relax
9. Focus Your Attention On The Waist
10. Breathe Out And Relax
11. Focus Your Attention On The Legs
12. Breathe Out And Relax Your Entire Body
13. Focus On Your Breath
14. Breathing In – Breathing Out
15. Notice If Your Mind Has Wandered – If yes, be Cool With It
16. Bring Your Focus Back To Your Breath
17. Breathing In – Breathing Out
18. Timer Rings – Slowly Open Your Eyes
19. Be Aware Of The Present Moment and the Surroundings
20. Convey Gratitude To The Experience – Done!
This simple 20 Step Process can help you get started with a basic practice of mindfulness in your daily life.
Try to practice at the same time every day. However, you can practice it whenever you feel like calming yourself down. Just make sure to not miss a day. Stay committed.
If you’re interested, you can read about how to practice mindfulness through your daily activities here.
I hope you have understood what being mindful really means and the benefits it can provide in the long run. Quickly get started with activating the mindful mode more often and enjoy living.