The concept of mindfulness and living in the moment has spread through our collective awareness in society. It sounds like a blissful, utopian practice, yet beyond the pale for most of us mere mortals. In our modern age, we are so concerned with the mundane drudgery of daily life between work, traffic, childcare, Netflix, relationships and arguments, social media and the like. We forget about the bigger picture, to stop and breathe, assess our thoughts, emotions and surroundings. Moreover, the preoccupations we all face in life have detrimental effects on our perception, relationships, reactivity and our physical, psychological, and emotional health.
Live in the moment
Every day we create our own simulated realities. We busy ourselves with living within the deep thought of the past or future. Many of us constantly update our social media platforms with inane memes or perfectly created selfies of little consequence. Furthermore, we attend our organized jobs, but little do we take note of what is in front of us.
Living in the moment originates as a Buddhist principle of mindfulness, that posits the concept of self as an illusion and that there is no true, fixed or unchangeable self. Rather, this philosophy contends that human suffering stems from false or illusory delusions of ourselves, life, and others.
Meditative and mindful thought and practice is a central belief to attain a higher perception, end human anguish and suffering, banish egotism and achieve enlightenment. You are attempting to be present, sense your surroundings and environment and practice self-reflection, self-understanding to better regulate and analyze your beliefs. It also enables an enhanced awareness of your individual motivations and permits informed and unhindered empathy towards yourself and others.
This is not to say that you should not reflect on the past or think about the future. Uniquely, strike a balance and reflect on past events to gain insight, learn from mistakes or failed approaches, and give thought to positive feelings and experiences. Remember that nothing can be done to alter our pasts, and it is counterproductive to dwell and obsess. Therefore, we must utilize the tools at hand and lessons learned to make the best of the present.
Concept in practice
Equally important, mindfulness or seizing the moment may seem like a changeable and abstract concept. But, there are certain tactics and mental exercises you may take on to begin this personal, psychological, and intellectual journey:
1) Take a deep breath, especially if you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Quiet your mind and adjust yourself to your surroundings, the sounds, and the sensations in your immediate vicinity. Consider removing yourself from the environment that is intensifying matters. Turn off your phone and other stimulating devices or sounds, simply relax into the moment.
2) Acknowledge and accept your feelings, attempt not to dwell, and ponder on your issues and on the past, or they will consume and prevent you from moving forward. Moreover, let them go and seek justifiable solutions to your problems.
3) Forgive yourself and others for past wrongdoings.
4) Try to experience, appreciate and savor the present moment and where you are, and reflect on the positive aspects, no matter how bleak or disguised they may be.
5) Try yoga as a way of grounding yourself. Focus on your body, the flow of each inhalation and exhalation of breath. Focus on the relaxation and the slow and planned flow in the stretching postures provide. You can also try other activities you enjoy, such as gardening, swimming or dancing. If, however, you find body pain or arthritic pain holds you back from engaging in joyful movement, choosing low-impact movements, starting out small and easily, or taking a joint supplement such as JointFuel360 to relieve pain and inflammation, may help get you get moving with more ease and less agony.
6) Keeping a journal or diary is a terrific way to express and identify how we feel, how we respond and reflections on what else could have been done or conducted differently to achieve a more favorable result. It also helps one with moving on and providing clarity.
7) Set aside a given period of time each day to practice mindfulness. Consider planning your day and visualize your goals to increase productivity and purpose.
8) Practice positive thinking and search your mind for things to be grateful.
9) Consider taking a walk or hike outside and enjoying nature. Walking, especially an excursion outdoors, can help relieve stress and anxiety. It refocuses the mind on the ambience surrounding you, and is beneficial to improving fitness, bone and cardiovascular health.
Benefits of seizing the day
As we previously discussed, living in the moment, attempting to achieve self-realization or self-actualization and taking the time to accept what is, let go of what has already happened, and taking steps for the future, has value for our psychological, emotional and physical health:
- It relieves stress, anxiety, and depression. If one becomes too focused on their problems and unpleasant aspects of life, they can be quickly overwhelmed by the swamp of their thoughts. Therefore, letting go of one’s ego, and allowing the mind to acknowledge, interpret and identify how we feel and what we truly value, helps to let go of bad experiences and perceive what is real and important in life.
- Likewise, mindfulness improves our relationships by removing distraction and inner turmoil, allowing one to appreciate and be present with those we love. It also improves perceptions of ourselves and lets go of negative feelings such as shame, guilt, and failure.
Relieving stress and the very act of slow purposeful breathing, can benefit health by lowering heart rate, blood pressure and the stress response brought about in the body characterized by the release of stress hormones called catecholamines, which if heightened chronically, can be detrimental to health. Too, meditative mindfulness may also have benefits for weight loss and smoking cessation. Moreover, people who are happier, more emotionally fulfilled and less stressed, are less likely to engage in activities or lifestyle patterns that compromise health such as drug abuse, lack of exercises and poor eating habits.
Seizing the day and living in and for the moment can help us achieve enlightenment, calm stress and negative feelings, helps us appreciate the now, and leads to better mental and physical health. So, take some time to simply feel the air enter and leave your lungs, feel the sun on your face and let go of the things you are unable to change, and let happiness and comfort filter through.
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