Be here now, why mindfulness matter?
Be here now is the second installment in our Be-well series. Once you finish reading this second installment, you will have the answer to that question. But, before delving into the principles, practice and benefits, let’s start with an introduction.
It’s worth repeating because it is such an important part of our efforts to be well, to live a life of conscious choices and continuous growth. This post is the second in the topic that Fullrliving published. In our previous post on mindfulness, the focus was on its importance, the benefits and how to embrace it. Fullrliving wanted to go further with this post. We could have simply added our previous post to this series, instead we choose to elaborate further because this is such an important approach to embrace for personal growth. Let’s start this second installment on mindfulness by quoting one of the great teacher of this very subject.
“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”–Thích Nhất Hạnh
The How And Why Of Mindfulness
What many of us don’t realize is that we live in a world where the average human attention span is currently only 8 seconds. Living in the present moment without being distracted by random thoughts and emotions is an achievement. How do we live beyond the norm and be fully present?
Mindfulness is both a principle and a practice that involves being focused and having non-judgmental reactions while staying in the present moment. This practice has roots in Buddhist traditions, but many embrace it worldwide. It is also a practice done in secular contexts for its potential mental and emotional benefits. Here’s an overview of the principles and practice of being here now, or mindfulness.
Related: Mindfulness, How To Embrace It
The Principle of Mindfulness
The principle of mindfulness takes root in the idea of cultivating a specific type of awareness. It is a practice of being here, of staying in the present moment. At its core, the following principles characterize what mindfulness is:
1. Present Moment Awareness
Mindfulness involves intentionally directing your attention to the here and now, to whatever is happening in the present moment. It’s about being fully engaged with your current experience rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
2. Non-Judgmental Awareness
Practicing the act of being here now or mindfulness encourages observing your experiences without judgment or criticism. This means acknowledging your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without labeling them as “good” or “bad.” It also involves accepting things as they are, as they unfold, without evaluating or reacting to them with preconceived notions.
3. Intentional Focus
The practice of mindfulness, aka being here now, requires a deliberate and purposeful approach to paying attention. Because of this, you actively choose what to focus on. You can focus on your breath, bodily sensations, sounds, or any other aspect of your personal experience. Further, when your mind wanders (which it naturally does), you gently and non-critically bring it back to your chosen point of focus.
4. Open and Curious Attitude
Practicing mindfulness involves adopting an open and curious attitude towards your experiences. In fact, you explore the present moment with a sense of curiosity. It’s as if you’re seeing, hearing, or feeling things for the first time. This attitude encourages a deeper understanding of your inner and outer worlds.
5. Acceptance and Compassion
Mindfulness promotes self-compassion and acceptance. Instead of trying to change or escape from discomfort or distressing experiences. Mindfulness encourages you to embrace these experiences and acknowledge them with kindness and understanding.
6. Mindful Living
Mindfulness is not lineal to formal meditation practices. It’s about integrating the principles of awareness and non-judgment into your everyday life. This means applying mindfulness to routine activities, conversations, and interactions. It’s also about focusing on being more present and responsive in your daily experiences.
When you developing mindfulness skills, you can cultivate resilience in the face of life’s challenges. Also, mindfulness helps to cope better with stress. It will also help to deal with difficult emotions and unexpected situations. Mindfulness helps to respond with greater awareness and equanimity.
Practicing mindfulness or being here now enhances self-awareness. Through practice, you learn to gain insights into your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. With an enhance ability to be mindful, you can experience personal growth and positive changes in various aspects of your life.
Mindfulness/being here now can deepen your connection with self. It will also augment your relationships with others and the world around you. Being more aware also fosters a sense of interconnectedness and empathy. It promotes more meaningful relationships and a greater appreciation of the world around you.
Overall, the principles of being here now, or mindfulness, centers on cultivating a state of conscious presence. It’s also about observing experiences without judgment and intentionality. When practicing, we do our best to engage with the world through understanding, compassion, and well-being. Mindfulness is a practice that can affect various aspects of life. It also fosters a greater sense of clarity, balance, and fulfillment.
Be Here Now Through The Practice of Mindfulness
You can practice mindfulness through various techniques that help to develop and strengthen your ability to be here or be present. Here are some common mindfulness practices:
Mindfulness meditation involves sitting quietly and focusing on breath, bodily sensations, or a specific focus point. When the mind wanders (which it inevitably will), gently bring it back to the present moment without judgment.
2. Body Scan
This involves mentally scanning the body from head to toe. While scanning, pay attention to any sensations or tension in the body. This process helps to promote relaxation and body awareness.
3. Mindful Breathing
This technique involves paying close attention to your breath as it moves in and out of the body. Use this technique as a standalonepractice or incorporated into other daily activities.
4. Walking Meditation
To walk mindfully is to focus on the sensations and movements of each step, rather than being lost in thought.
5. Eating Mindfully
Pay full attention to the taste, texture, and smell of each bite of food. Also, savor the experience without distractions.
6. Mindful Yoga
This practice is about combining yoga poses with mindfulness principles. To do this involves paying attention to your breath and bodily sensations while moving through the practice.
7. Daily Life Integration
Practice mindfulness in everyday activities or chores. Think in terms of when washing dishes, commuting, or walking through a mall. Merging this practice involves being fully present during these activities rather than allowing the mind to wander.
Benefits of Mindfulness
The practice of mindfulness has been associated with various mental, emotional, and physical benefits. These advantages include:
1. Stress Reduction
Mindfulness reduces stress by promoting relaxation and enforces responding to stressors calmly.
2. Improved Emotional Regulation
It can enhance your ability to manage difficult emotions and decrease reactivity.
3. Enhanced Focus and concentration
Mindfulness can improve the ability to stay focused on tasks and reduce errant thoughts.
4. Increased Self-Awareness
With increase self-awareness, it’s possible to be more in tune with your thoughts, emotions, and physical well-being.
5. Better Relationships
Mindfulness can lead to more empathy and compassionate interactions with others.
6. Improved Mental Health
One therapeutic tool for dealing with conditions such as anxiety or depression is the practice of mindfulness.
7. Physical Health Benefits
Some research suggests that mindfulness may have positive effects on blood pressure, immune function, and chronic pain management.
Patience and Mindfulness
Without a doubt, there is a connection between patience and mindfulness. In fact, they complement each other. Because of their connection, practicing mindfulness can enhance the ability to be patient. Likewise, patience can be an essential aspect of mindfulness practice. Here are the ways these two qualities connect.
1. Awareness of Impatience
Mindfulness involves paying non-judgmental attention to your thoughts, emotions, and sensations. In short, staying in the present moment. When feelings of impatience arising, mindfulness allows for observation without immediate reaction. Being aware of impatience is the first step in managing it effectively.
2. Managing Impatience
Mindfulness is the perfect tools to manage impatience constructively. Instead of surrendering to impulsive reactions or frustration, take a step back, breathe, and control the response. Using this approach is ideal for stressful or challenging situations.
3. Staying Present
Impatience often develops when we focus on the future or when we want immediate gratification. Mindfulness encourages a return to the present moment. To choose to engage with what’s happening right now, rather than rushing ahead.
4. Cultivating Patience
Mindfulness practice itself requires patience. Whether meditating, doing mindful breathing, or practicing mindful walking, it’s essential to approach these activities with patience. When the mind wanders, be patient and remember it takes time to develop the skill of sustained attention. Patience in focused awareness practice can lead to greater mindfulness in daily life.
5. Reducing Reactivity
Mindfulness helps to be less reactive to external triggers and internal thoughts and emotions. When you’re more patient, it’s less likely to react impulsively or with frustration. This is especially so even in challenging situations. Less reactivity leads to better decision-making and more harmonious relationships.
6. Enhancing Self-Compassion
Patience and mindfulness also work together to foster self-compassion. When you’re patient with yourself, you’re less likely to be critical or judgmental. Mindfulness helps to recognize and accept thoughts and feelings that promote self-compassion and self-acceptance.
7. Improved Relationships
Practicing patience and mindfulness significantly benefits relationships. Focused awareness helps to be more attentive and respond thoughtfully in conversations. With patience comes the ability to allow others the time and space to express thoughts and feelings.
Research shows that mindfulness has the potential to positively affect lives in a variety of ways. At its core, we are stronger when we can be still and aware. Further, we gain strength from mindfulness because we can manage issues in our lives such as stress, our mood, or even the ability to be empathetic. When all is said and done, mindfulness is a tool for balancing how you live and achieve your life goals. This installment of the series is about being here now. Here is another quote that represents what it means to stay present.
There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just be. Just being in the moment in this place is the deepest practice of meditation. Most people cannot believe that just walking as if you have nowhere to go is enough.
Thích Nhất Hạnh