Late last year I began exploring ways I could find more inner peace. I was listening to a podcast where the host was discussing the power of meditation and the impact it had on many of his guests’ lives. I always thought mediation was for Buddhists or hippies or people who were highly anxious. I was none of those, although I do feel I am becoming somewhat of a hippie these days. Shortly after listening to the podcast I began reading a book and articles about mediation and figured that I had nothing to lose by trying it.
Since then I am still unsure whether I am meditating correctly. My mind is constantly racing with multiple thoughts and sometimes this is all that happens during my meditation. However, once in awhile I will catch myself without a thought, simply focusing on my breath and in these moments I definitely feel the peace. What I have learned about meditation is that at the heart of it is mindfulness.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness has Buddhist origins, however these days everyone from monks to fortune 500 CEOs are practicing it. I have definitely jumped onto the mindfulness bandwagon. Mindfulness is the ability to focus on only what is in front of you in the present moment. Therefore, you do not think about the past and you do not think about the future. Earlier this week I shared that one of my new year’s revolutions was to live more in the present moment. Although I still have trouble doing this from time to time, being mindful has helped me work toward this.
Growing up I was always told and had always believed that multi-tasking was a great skill to have. I did everything I could to become a great multi-tasker. After learning about mindfulness and incorporating it into my life I have come to realize that I get so much more done when I only focus on what is in front of me and I actually enjoy the different aspects of my life so much more.
How I Have Incorporated Mindfulness Into My Life
I still have a long way to go in mastering mindfulness, however just like life, mindfulness is a journey and not a race. As long as I know that I am putting in the effort to be mindful, that is all that I can ask of myself.
Before discovering mindfulness I would wake up and immediately check my email and social media accounts. This could sometimes last for hours. I am guilty of still doing this from time to time, but these days I instead try to acknowledge that I am awake and feel grateful that I was given another day on earth. I try and get five to twenty minutes of meditation in in the morning before the kids and Nic are fully awake because this helps set the tone for the rest of the day.
Mindfulness has helped me to detach from my phone more often. I try to only look at my phone every three hours instead of mindlessly scrolling through it all day long. Doing this has helped me to fully pay attention to my kids and to not feel like I am going crazy when one of them is throwing a tantrum. It has helped me to try and be more understanding with Nic and to not always let my impatience get the best of me.
In addition to my relationships and my morning routine, mindfulness has also helped me to question and think about the food I put in my body and how my actions make an imprint on the earth. It has changed my perspective on life, helped me to be more grateful and challenged me to be a more compassionate and caring human being.
Did I Put On Some Rose-Colored Glasses?
If you are anything like me prior to discovering mindfulness, all this positivity and gratefulness may sound like I put on a pair of rose-colored glasses and simply decided not to see the world the way it really is. What I have learned with true mindfulness is that you actually see the world’s injustices even more clearly.
In addition, being mindful does not mean that you no longer feel negative emotions like anger and anxiousness. It means you are able to recognize them and let them go without allowing them to take over the situation or your life. I used to have moments where I would what I like to say “freak out”, which means I get extremely angry or anxious about a situation and horrible things spill out of my mouth. The victims of my freak outs were usually Nic, my kids and my immediate family. It’s really embarrassing writing this out because I have always tried to portray a got-it-all-together character but this was definitely my sore spot.
Since having started being more mindful I recognize my feelings when I think I may freak out and have learned to control them before all hell breaks loose. I focus on my breathing and try to get it to a slower pace and if needed I try and put myself in the other person’s shoes and show compassion regardless of whether I think they are in the wrong or not. It’s amazing how this technique has changed my life and I could only imagine what kind of world we would be living in if everyone practiced even a little bit of mindfulness.
For further readings on mindfulness I would recommend the following articles: