Mindfulness means to pay attention. Live in the now and focus on whatever it is you are doing in this precise moment. When you are active, do not fill your mind with thoughts about the past and the future. Save those thoughts for quiet moments when you can think about them more effectively.
Practising mindfulness will help you change your habits and attitudes towards life. As a consequence, your view of the world will also become broader. It is a positive and effective step toward managing stress and curing anxiety.
Learn to adopt mindfulness exercises into your everyday life. When you shower in the morning, pay attention to the sensation the water has against your skin, the smell of the soap and the sounds of the water as it spurts from the shower and hits the tiles.
When you are eating, don’t be distracted by conversation, TV or music. Focus your attention on the taste and feel of the food, and in your mind and heart, show appreciation for the delicious flavours and the nourishment the food gives you.
When you are at work, focus on the job you are doing in the present moment and try not to be distracted by events and sounds that are happening around you. If you work in an open-plan office with many distractions, listen to classical music using a pair of earphones. This helps you turn your attention solely on your work. The focus of attention is meditating.
When you give the matter some thought, you will find there are many times of the day when you have an opportunity to practice being mindful.
Think of points in the day which you can consciously use (schedule) for meditative practice. Make a list of all the quiet moments that are available to you where you can practice mindfulness meditation.
The more you do practice, the more automatic mindfulness comes throughout the day, and you will start to notice your thoughts – particularly the negative thoughts that feed your anxiety.
Here are a few examples to get you started:
- When you wake up
- In the shower
- Cleaning your teeth
- Getting dressed
- Preparing meals
- At the coffee machine
Even though many of the mindfulness techniques require you to be alone in your own world cultivating peace and calm, you should also be mindful around others.
In his best-selling book, How To Make Friends And Influence People, Dale Carnegie says, the most important person in the world is the one you are talking to. So take time to listen, focus on what the other person is saying and react naturally. Don’t think about how you should react. That comes across false. Be yourself, because you are perfect just the way you are.
Many of us do not listen properly because we are too wrapped up in our own thoughts and consciously thinking how you should react so as not to offend the other person.
Essentially, this is ego. And ego invites stress and anxiety because it is programmed with a predetermined way of who you are and how you should behave. Ego goes against the grain of you being your natural self.
And you shouldn’t care what people think of you. Everybody is different, and everybody judges people that are not like them. If you stress over whether people like you or not, you will never win.