Need for Mindful Living?
Mindfulness is an experience to achieve a healthy lifestyle. It is not associated with meditation, but it is essentially a routine to follow in our lives. It is a skill that teaches one to be alert by ‘pausing.’ It is called mindful because it is to be practiced consciously and in the moment. It is a conscious practice of reserving a few moments of your day towards mindful living.
Mindful living is important in all the spheres of life, may it be personal, spiritual, or even professional. We are all aware of the benefits of communication but seldom do we pay attention to the importance of doing this intra-personally. Mindful living is the type of mediation that is not practiced with closed eyes or chanting a mantra, not even by communicating with the inner self. It is, instead, exactly the opposite. It is where you become aware of your surroundings; where you are alert of what is happening around you; and how you behave with open eyes – you pause and use that moment for yourself.
Let us now understand the uses of Mindful living in our personal, spiritual and professional lives.
Mindful Living used for Personal Use:
1. Improves sleep
2. Reduces stress
3. Fights anxiety
4. Helps in weight loss
5. Combats chronic pain
6. Lowers blood pressure
7. Mindful Living used for the Spiritual path:
8. Promotes awakening
9. Lets go of the ego
10. Cultivates empathy
11. Develops humility
12. Works to grow and heal the soul
13. Builds gratitude
Mindful Living for Professional use:
1. Increases creativity
2. Develops leadership
3. Fosters clearer communication
4. Improves focus
5. Reduces burnout
6. Increases customer service quality
Components of Mindful Living
Mindfulness requires one to be an observer. It requires us to practice non-judgmental awareness of the present moment.
The four essential components that make up the Mindful Living package includes:
It requires you to live life to the fullest, from your heart and soul. Imitation and hypocrisy have no place in the mindful living experience. It says that life needs to be truly lived with honesty and not with false ego and other unhealthy coping skills.
It is about embracing life with a heart for learning and acceptance. It requires one to possess the eagerness to seek personal truth.
It requires one to be responsive to situations and not reacting to outcomes. It needs one to have a proactive headspace.
This follows from the lesson of acceptance, where mindful living teaches us to accept and embrace the imperfect, render kindness, practice love in action and choose to forgive and forget.
Essentials for Mindful Living:
1. Choosing your Position
Choosing the sitting position for the mindfulness exercise is preferred as this position can be practiced anywhere. Allowing your back and neck to be aligned in a straight position will enable you to have the right balance. The next step is to use one or a combination of your senses, keeping the focus to maintain a straight aligned body structure. The senses to use could be breathing or hearing, or a combination of both. Thus, the position will consist of a balanced body, focused on the breath and/or hearing.
2. The Body Scan
Allow your body to settle and get comfortable with your position. Slowly, start paying attention to each body part of yours, starting from the feet and moving upwards to the head. Dedicate one moment to each of the body parts; and while in this process, be careful not to get distracted and let feelings of discomfort, anger or frustration interfere. Be mindful of these negative feelings and gradually allow your mind to leave these behind and get your focus back.
This ensures that we focus on our breathing – from inhales and exhales. Mindfulness does not require us to control our breathing in any specific way; instead, allow your body to choose the right move for you. Our focus should be on how our body is reacting, the breath, the position, and the incoming and outgoing thoughts. Do not stop them; allow them to arise in your head and control the need to react to them. Let them come in, focus on your breathing and the thoughts will get settled by themselves.
While using the sense of hearing be mindful to focus on the outer sounds in the environment. Most of the time, our minds get occupied with the internal mental chatter, doubts, and questions, barely paying attention to the outer environmental sounds. These sounds could be the sound of the doorbell, to the birds chirping, the sound of a vehicle, or even the wind. Focus on the sounds of nature and do not get distracted with your mind wandering on the thoughts. Bring it back to this hearing exercise consciously.
After spending the allotted time for this practice, come back to the awareness of your whole body and day to day life. Get back to your routine with the realization that the mindfulness journey has just begun and your awareness needs to be continued towards every action and every thought of your mind.
Mindful living helps us to randomly stop chasing goals. It gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect. It cautions us before we take the next step. It makes us mindful of our surroundings and environment. It helps us to stay alert and thereby helps in sound decision making.