Being in the moment is extremely important, but it’s getting increasingly harder to get there. People are always thinking about the past, the future (especially at this time of the year, when we look forward and make our New Year’s resolutions for 2015), or somewhere other than where they are right now.
In order to protect your health, finding time to appreciate “the now” and be mindful should be a top priority. With the holidays underway, I’d like to strongly recommend you set aside your thoughts about the past or the future, and immerse yourself in the present.
Shutting your mind off and taking it somewhere else used to be accomplished by reading a book; then the radio and television sets became options. But with the rise of computers, smartphones, and tablets, it seems humans are more isolated than ever, caught up in what’s on the nearest screen instead of what’s happening directly around them. Just walk into any restaurant or cafe, and you’ll see groups of people looking at their phones instead of engaging with each other.
Mindfulness Meditation Promotes Your Health
Mindfulness is the practice of being able to shut out distractions and appreciate the moment. It awakens you to the present, allows you to focus and clear your head of other thoughts, and makes you a part of what’s happening right now. Mindfulness clears away judgment and fear, while making you an active participant in your life, rather than just an occasional observer.
All of this can make you healthier, as numerous studies have indicated practicing mindfulness can reduce stress and anxiety, curb addiction, and increase happiness, and can potentially lower your risk for high blood pressure and heart attack.
Boosting Your Mindfulness
You can increase your mindfulness by turning off the television, along with any computers, smartphones, and tablets—removing all distractions—and sitting down by yourself on the floor. Close your eyes, tune out any external noise, and start breathing deeply. Pay attention to your breath; follow the air down into your lungs and diaphragm, and then back up as you exhale. As you focus on your breathing, your mind will eventually forget what’s around you and you’ll be one with the moment.
Other ways to get yourself in the moment involve simply giving yourself the opportunity to unplug. When you go out to dinner or lunch with another person, turn your phone to “silent” mode and leave it in your coat or purse.
You can also spend time in silence throughout the day without music, television, or any other distractions. Eat in silence and schedule “no distraction” time, when you’re free of all technological devices.
Get Caught Up in the Festive Spirit
Finally, try to really enjoy the moment. Appreciate the season and the people around you. Don’t worry about things that were said last year, what you did yesterday, or what you have to do in the new year. Enjoy the now and make some new, real memories with the people you care about.
Source for Today’s Article:
Grossman, P., et al., “Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis,” Journal of Psychosomatic Research July 2004; 57(1): 35–43.
Witkiewitz, K. et al., “Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention for Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders,” Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy 2015; 19(3): 211–228.
Parswani, M., et al., “Mindfulness-base stress reduction program in coronary heart disease: A randomized control trial,” International Journal of Yoga July–December 2013; 6(12): 111–117.