In the Now
I read an article recently about the wellness buzzwords and trends for this year, 2018. The one that caught my attention right off the bat was the practice of mindfulness. Of course, being a practitioner of yoga, I was immediately intrigued that this was an upcoming trend for this year in wellness. My hope is that it won't remain merely a trend and will actually become ingrained in our everyday lives.
So what is it? What is "mindfulness?" It's about being in the present moment. Actually grounded in the here and now. Because, seriously, how many of us get caught up in the shoulda, coulda, woulda? Or, our mind is already on that grocery list we need to knock out, and the doctor's appointment we need to make, or that friend we need to call back while we are SUPPOSED to be relaxing in our shavasana in yoga class, or enjoying that awesome massage? Leaving us feeling anxious, pressured, or like we just can't measure up or do anything right?
In the nurse coaching process, I encounter so many people that can benefit from a mindfulness practice. For instance, how many of us drive home from work everyday but don't really remember how we ended up back in our driveway? How many of us eat standing up while cruising our social media? Or sit in front of the t.v. while we grab dinner? This is the opposite of being mindful, this is mindLESSness.
The practice of being mindful is simplicity at its finest. In yoga class, I encourage mindfulness to quiet the mind and find our center. We begin by checking in to each sense beginning with the sense of touch. Noticing the weight of the body sinking into the floor, the contact we have with the yoga mat, the temperature of the air and the movement of air against the skin. Then we move on, noticing all the sounds we hear, and so on. This simple practice of tapping into each sense keeps us present.
With my coaching clients, I encourage mindful eating. Sitting down at a table for at least one meal a day. With NO devices! Taking the time to contemplate the meal, where did the food originate? How did it end up on the plate? How will the meal serve the body? If we can, enjoying the meal with someone we have a meaningful relationship with and having a conversation. I also encourage taking a mindfulness walk outside, taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and touch of nature. It helps slow us down, and become connected to ourselves and the world around us.
Studies have shown how anxiety and depression can be positively impacted by being mindful. When we stay grounded in the present moment, that is the only thing that requires our focus and attention. We eventually become less distracted and irritated and more aware of life as it unfolds at its own pace.
Mindfulness. Not just a trend. It is the jewel of living life with awareness, in the present moment.