The essence of “stopping to smell the Roses” has always really resonated with me. As someone who is very passionate about the holistic approach to health, mindfulness is something that I have delved into a lot in recent times. We are always so busy and there always seems to be so much to do. We tend to go through our day on “autopilot”. Being a busy professional and trying to balance life and work I needed to identify a mechanism that would enable me to ‘de-stress’ in the quickest time possible. Perhaps therein lies the cause of the problem – we want it all and we want it now!
I discovered some time ago the benefits of what it means to be in the here and now. I actually didn’t realize it at the time but what I was reading about was mindfulness. I loved the idea of being in the moment, giving myself a break, getting out of my head and switching off. It’s suspending the mayhem of my world, my self-talk, my constant mind chatter, to planning my next meeting, to wondering what I will have for dinner – even for a few seconds. It’s about not worrying about past or future events but realizing the power of now.
Through my learning about mindfulness I discovered it has significant health benefits that are scientifically proven. These benefits include the fact that it can change our neural pathways to help us be more positive, reduce stress. Mindfulness is also proven to improve focus, empathy, emotional control and increase happiness, improve mood and boost immune system and more.
So why are we all not embracing this power of now? Typically because we feel we are too busy. ‘I don’t have time to take half hour out of my day to meditate, I thought. I was very relieved to hear that I can practice mindfulness anywhere, at any time, for whatever length of time I want. I could therefore absolutely commit to do it for a few seconds. I learnt I could do it sitting in a meeting room whilst I waited for the meeting to start, whilst I was in the lunch queue or even as I was brushing my teeth!
I have worked on ‘taking a break’ and being really present every day for the last few months. I still cannot manage more than a few seconds at a time – at a push a whole minute. My progress however is that I remember to do it for a few seconds, a few times throughout the day. Just stopping, taking a deep breath, observing, listening to the chatter around me, noticing things with all of my senses –not judging what I am seeing or hearing and having a greater sense of awareness of being. Through learning about mindfulness I feel that I have been given a gift that just keeps on giving. It also allows me to take those few seconds to share my gratitude for all that is.
Typically by the time I have done that I realize I need to run to my next meeting and the merry-go-round of existence starts again however somehow I feel calmer, more grounded and ready for what the next couple of hours throws at me.
Take a break, your peaceful existence depends on it.
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