Everyone talks about mindfulness these days. Living in the here and now. Being present. But what does all this mean? We know what it is supposed to mean—paying attention to what is going on around us. Being aware of this moment right now, how we feel, what we see, what we hear. It means literally being present within what is happening this moment without being distracted by technology, thinking about the past or the future, but only what is taking place right there in our space. Staying in the present can take practice. So, what’s the benefit of mindfulness?
According to the University Of California At Berkeley, “Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.”
Remember that I teach incorporating new habits to conquer your reality in 10 minutes at a time. Tiny Consistent Actions make BIG changes. You can learn to practice mindfulness and being present for 10 minutes at a time.
Start by choosing a time to form this simple habit of focusing on the present. A few minutes in the morning is perfect, especially if you can get up a few minutes before anyone else. Feel the chair you are sitting in or the bed you are lying on. Look around the room and notice the colors and objects. Listen to the sounds. Do you hear voices, a fan, cars driving by, the birds or a dog barking? What do you smell? Is coffee brewing, or did you light a candle? While you are enlarging your awareness of the moment, take a deep breath and include the awareness of your breath.
When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breathing and go through the senses again. What do you feel, see, hear, smell? Deep breathe. Taking a few minutes to do this regularly will help you to develop the habit of living in the moment. Once you feel comfortable doing this when it is quiet and you are alone, then you can choose to try it in a busy atmosphere like at dinner with the family or when watching TV with the kids doing circles through the living room. You can learn to be mindful and practice being present any time you want on demand.
Before you start any activity, you can take a 10-minute mindfulness pause. As you become aware of the moment you are in, set an intention to focus on the activity at hand. This could be a project at work, a meeting you are leading, or a task such as starting dinner or a chore.
When you take a moment to set an intention, that will also set the tone for the action you are taking and the outcome. You can intend do the task a certain way, in a peaceful or efficient manner, with a focused result. You might be surprised how much more you can accomplish if you draw your attention into your task with mindfulness before you begin.
Another great time to practice mindfulness is at the end of your day, just before bed. This can bring closure to the day and prepare you to rest before the next day. Acknowledge the time and space you are within in that present moment. Feel your body sitting on the chair or lying on the bed. Take a deep breath and take in your surroundings. While you are in this relaxed present state, you can take 10 minutes to reflect on how your day went. Were you present, or did you feel scattered and overwhelmed? Note what you found challenging and what you found pleasant during the day. Where did you feel resistance in your day? Can you determine why you might have felt off balance or uncomfortable during the day? Was there an event or conversation that you found distracting? Next take a moment to check in with your emotions and allow yourself to feel that without judging. If you can name your emotion it will help with self-awareness.
Practicing mindfulness and presence can give new meaning to our everyday activities. And it can help us develop not only self-awareness but also self-compassion. This is a wonderful practice for all us, but especially for women with fibromyalgia. If you find fibro fog consuming you during the day, or you begin to feel overwhelmed, try 10 minutes of mindfulness. It may bring a bit of peace in a hectic day. For those that participate in my fibroCARE process, 10 minutes of mindfulness can be listed as one of your easy resiliency strategies or can be included in your recovery plan.
Choose to live in the present today.
Hearts & Hugs,
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