Since I started experimenting with a mindfulness meditation practice six months ago, my perspective changed. So today I’ll share how you can reap the benefits of meditation by being more mindful.
I’ll preface this by saying if you haven’t read my thoughts on meditation, here are the cliffs: I started with sitting in a dark room – observing my breath, clearing my thoughts, and noticing any sensations in my body.
Now six months in, the differences in my personal well being are a plenty.
Your perspective shifts after you teach yourself to become more attuned to your thoughts and sensations.
Basically, you take your learnings from meditating and extend it to all aspects of your life. Some people call this informal meditation.
Dedicating yourself to being in the present moment takes a ton of practice.
A certain diligence with catching yourself thinking is pretty tricky to get the hang of, but if you make the conscious effort, you’ll notice the benefits – it is an empowering feeling.
But, like everything else, it takes practice… no shortcuts here, friend.
What isn’t worth your thoughts?
I’m now realizing how absurd it is to dwell on the past. Something you have no control over is not worth your thoughts.
That mistake you made at work, or botched encounter with some girl or guy is history: move on.
Thinking about the future is a bit different, but the same premise applies. The future is exciting for some but anxiety provoking for others. My advice is to come to terms with what it is.
Instead of looking forward to things, focus your energy on what you can directly control, the present.
How can you be more mindful?
I started by learning to notice the present throughout every part of my day. Previously meaningless sensations I now notice and embrace.
The light pressure in my shoulders from sitting at a desk, or the wind on my face when I’m biking to work.
Noticing tiny things help me stay in tune with my mind (and my sanity) through the day.
This is something I’ve never previously experienced, but it allows me to continually connect with my body.
You can even control pain
Noticing sensations extends to certain emotions as well. Start to pay attention when you are happy and when you are not so happy.
For example, when I’m angry, I’ll ask why I’m angry, then label the anger and figure out whether it is worth being angry about.
I’m confident you’ll find that it is never worth your emotional energy to stay distraught or angry.
Life is too short.
I’ll give you another example: pain. At about kilometer 37 of my marathon, things got extremely painful.
My solution? First I asked myself what the cause of the pain was. This one was pretty obvious. Next I reminded myself how pain is merely a sensation like any other.
Pain is not negative nor positive – it was simply… there.
I also knew from previous long runs, so when it happened on the marathon I familiarized myself with it, controlled my thoughts associated with the pain, and kept going.
Are you ready?
Meditation and mindfulness is about enjoying life’s moments, moment after moment.
It is a state and a commitment to living the ‘good life.’
Tiny things like picking up on someone’s personality while talking or their motives for pitching an idea to you are fun to realize.
Not only that, mindfulness shows you how to shift your perspective to who you’re talking to.
Think about what emotions they’ll feel when you say certain things. Your words are powerful.
Don’t over think anything
Overthinking anything tends to lead to negative emotions. I used to over think and worry about everything: mistakes I made, regrets, what others think of me, etc… the list is endless. And it is comical to think about now.
The point is to drop the things you can’t control. Any easy way to jumpstart this is by dropping the past.
I used to get a ton of anxiety thinking about the past. Self confidence plummets which is no good for anyone!
By noticing sensations I’m constantly reminded that all of these feelings are nothing but thoughts… and luckily, you can control your thoughts!
You have the power to change your thoughts at any time. Start now.
Do you try to catch yourself thinking? What do you notice?