Mindfulness is everywhere these days from the new online Oprah/Chopra Meditation Challenge to campuses across the US to training for Fortune 500 employees. So, what’s all the buzz about? Those of us who have been studying and practicing mindfulness have experienced firsthand the benefits of being in the moment and know that this simple but not easy practice can help us cope better with our changing lives.
Here are some recent examples. Yesterday in class one of my students talked about how she’s learned to be less self-blaming and kinder and gentler with herself. How did mindfulness help? When we learn to redirect our attention to the present moment intentionally, past regrets about what we’ve messed up or future worries about how we could fail, start to fade. Instead of fueling our tendency to beat ourselves up mentally, we can see how we’re doing and how people respond to us in the moment. It’s amazing what a few moments of mental clarity can do.
Another example is when we’re spending time with our children or loved ones. Much of the time when we’re with others, our mind is off somewhere else rehearsing our to-do list, figuring out how we can dodge the next catastrophe or regretting the mistakes we’ve made. When we redirect our focus to the moment we’re in, often it’s more pleasant for us and others. We can see the glow in our child’s eyes as they experience our undivided attention and the love we feel for them that spreads through us calming and quieting our restless and overactive minds.
Sound too good to be true. Here’s a simple way to get started. Tomorrow, spend five minutes in the morning before you get out of bed and five minutes each evening before you drift off to sleep, focussing on your breathing and repeating, “In calm. Out stress.” Learn to train your mind to go where you want instead of wondering aimlessly. Do this daily for a week and let me know what happens and what you begin to notice. Namaste.
Click here and then go to my Resources page at drdianesanford.com for guided exercises and videos about how mindfulness can benefit you.
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