Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
We all know that stress is a killer. A report from the Australian Psychological Society indicates that one in four workers felt moderately to severely distressed in the past year alone. Participants in the survey, titled Stress and Wellbeing in Australia, showed the demographic facing the highest stress load were those aged between 18 and 35.
During this golden time of our lives when we should be thriving, having fun and enjoying ourselves, but instead we have become a society crippled with anxiety which will inevitably lead to various forms of dis-ease as maturity beckons.
I know this story far too well.
My mid-life awakening happened when in 2012 when I decided to take the plunge and retrain as a Wellness Consultant after having some successes with vibrational remedies to reduce my stress levels and get me back on track. I had been working in the corporate world for many years and had noticed a rapid decline in my mental, emotional and physical health.
Why Everyone Can Benefit From The Practice of Mindfulness
One of the most simple and effective tools that I was introduced to was the practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness involves the intentional and non-judgmental focus of our attention on our emotions, sensations and thoughts in the here and now. According to a Pennsylvania State University Study by Daphne M. Davis and Jeffrey A. Hayes, it provides emotional regulation, decreased reactivity, increased response flexibility, interpersonal benefits and intrapersonal benefits.
These days, it has become part of my daily route. I allocate the same time every morning when I am feeling fresh and energized and pride myself on consistency. Remember the Zen proverb that suggests you should meditate quietly for 20 minutes a day; if you are too busy to do that, you should meditate for an hour.
It is very easy to make excuses and sabotage your own success with this technique because living in such a fast-paced world, there is always something else to do but stay focussed and committed and it will not only help you become more productive but it will help you actually enjoy your tasks and move through life with ease and grace.
Eckhart Tolle, author of ‘The Power Of Now’ provides probably one of the clearest interpretations of the beneficial qualities of Mindfulness. He writes “Realise deeply that the present moment is all you ever have” suggesting that nothing truly exists aside from what we have in front of our faces right now. This places the responsibility onto each one of us to appreciate our lives as they are currently and to make a conscious choice to be happy.
It really is not wise to decide to only be fulfilled when you acquire something or someone as that day may never come and you would have spent your entire life in misery.
Mindfulness Observation: An Easy But Effective Exercise
Here is a basic but incredibly powerful technique to enable you to observe and appreciate simple objects in your day to day life in a more profound manner.
This easy but effective system reconnects us with the aesthetic glory of our natural surroundings which under normal work-a-day conditions could be overlooked.
1. Select an object within your immediate environment and give it your undivided attention for a couple of minutes. Be creative, this could be a plant, photographs or a favorite pet.
2. Simply keep your focus on whatever you have selected.
3. Just relax into observing it for as long as you can.
4. Look at it as if you are noticing it for the very first time.
5. Explore every part of its design, and allow yourself to be absorbed by its presence.
6. Set your intention to connect with its energy and its purpose within the natural world.
Utilizing mindfulness exercises frequently, instead of being influenced by emotions fuelled by negative past events or fears of future situations, we can guide the mind into broader conscious awareness so that we are able to cope with life’s dramas with greater clarity, calmness and confidence. This frees us from the confinement of unpleasant, restrictive thought cycles and offers us a more positive focus to activate greater levels of compassion and understanding.
How do you incorporate being mindful into your daily life? And if you don’t, then what would you hope to get out of it? Share your thoughts below!