We live in a world full of stress and distractions. More and more people find mindfulness as a tool to deal with stress. Can mindfulness be something for you? We explain in brief and help you get started.
Mindfulness, conscious presence, has been practiced in Buddhism for thousands of years to increase the presence in emotion, thought, and body. It has been seen to have such good effects on people who exercise mindfulness that today it is used in health care for the treatment of people who are stressed, has sleep problems, suffer from pain conditions, fatigue depression, anxiety, or depression.
When you talk about conscious presence, you usually refer to the ability to be “here and now” – “in the moment”, which can be more difficult than you first think. Our thoughts slip easily away and are often in the future and what will happen next. Sometimes we lose ourselves in thoughts of time or daydreams. The modern technology around us also helps us to do many things at the same time and take the job home with us. The constant connection grabs our attention and uses a lot of our thinking power. All too often, we sit with a mobile or tablet while doing other things, even when we hang out with other people.
By exercising our ability to be “here and now”, we increase the contact between our own body, thoughts, and emotions, which reduces the physical and psychological stress. We get to know and interpret our own signals from body and soul. Awareness of the signals is created without being valued or judged. The thoughts may come and go under mindfulness, both the positive and the negative.
How does it happen?
Mindfulness can be woven into most everyday tasks, but often it can be good to start with some concrete exercises to learn the technique. Once you have found the technique, you can exercise mindfulness during your meals, listening to music, or socializing with friends, thus increasing your well-being. By being present in the things we do, we open up to a more honest internal dialogue and an alertness to the things we do and the decisions we make.
Download a mindfulness app
If you want to learn conscious presence, there are lots of good books on the subject and now also mobile apps. You can also take a course or ask at their health center if they offer mindfulness groups for their patients.
An easy thing to start with if you want to try mindfulness in everyday life can be breathing exercises. You can do conscious breathing as follows: Take a deep breath and then exhale slowly. Repeat four times and focus only on the breath and how they feel in the body. Then continue breathing normally for a few minutes but continue to focus only on the breath.
If you want to continue to use mindfulness in other everyday situations, you can, for example, eat or drink under conscious presence.
Be completely focused on what to eat or drink and preferably eat under silence. Remove interference moments such as your mobile, newspaper, or tablet.
Notice the shape, color, and texture of what you have in front of you. How do you feel you should eat in your hand, in the glass or on the fork, stop and reflect on the weight or structure. Take a chew/sip, reflect on the temperature, be it warm, cold, or maybe lukewarm, feel the texture. Feel the different flavors, sweet / sour / salty / bitter. What feelings, memories, or sensations do you bring to life?
Let the thoughts come and go. Don’t value your feelings, positive or negative, just let them come and go. Keep the focus on what you eat or drink until the meal is over, put all other thoughts aside. If the thoughts start to flow away, then consciously focus on the food again, exercise gives skill!