If you are reading this you’re obviously staring at a screen. Again. No, this isn’t about singling you out, we’re all guilty of this. We all spend outrageous amounts of time doing anything to avoid living our own lives to the fullest.
Modern lives were already hectic before the digital age came and robbed us of the little time we had for ourselves. Even when we’re not actually busy we keep ourselves busy with meaningless things. We waste precious time scrolling on our social media to see how others live their lives instead of looking at ours.
Take a look around you
Mindfulness is the art of living in the moment, being actively aware of your surroundings, the people in your life and, most important, being aware of your feelings.
Right this instant, take your eyes off the screen and look around you. Never mind the piles of clothes on the sofa, that’s not important. Look at the room you’re in, try to visualize the whole house, the neighborhood, the city and the whole planet. It’s a humbling experience to imagine yourself as a little dot living on this big blue planet in a universe far too big for our comprehension. But it’s also exhilarating! How incredible is it that you exist in this universe!?
Such an exercise is great to teach you the simple gratitude for being alive and all your problems pale when compared to the miracle of you being a part of this wonderful thing called life.
Take a look at the people in your life
Even if you’re alone in the house at this very instant, think about the people you value most in your life. A partner, a child, a friend, a parent?
Mindfulness means becoming truly aware of the people in your life. Not as in ‘John’s gonna be home in half an hour’. That’s just a fact. Think about how wonderful it is to have found someone to share your life with, put the phone down and give him a hug when he comes in.
You don’t have to say anything, just hold him in your arms for a few seconds and be happy there is this someone who cares about you. Don’t be ashamed if you have to fight back tears, this special person in your life will appreciate being appreciated!
Look into your heart
The person you need to appreciate more is yourself! The main reason we keep ourselves so busy is that we don’t want to examine ourselves. Even if we’re unhappy we’d rather not know that. If there’s one thing we’re very good at it’s lying to ourselves and sweeping all our problems under a metaphoric rug!
Mindfulness is about acknowledging our physical being, as well as our thoughts and feelings.
A good exercise in self-awareness begins with being aware of every part of your body – starting with the toes and working your way up! The toes? Yes, they’re a part of you and serve you every day even if you never think about it.
Once you’ve become aware of your physical being make yourself more comfortable on the couch and look into your soul. What’s bothering you? Are you happy with the place you’re at in your life? You need to tread carefully, but also be brutally honest with yourself.
The whole point of mindfulness is not just raising awareness of your thoughts and feelings, but also taking steps to change whatever it is that makes you unhappy. Including the above-mentioned John, if need be!