Updated: Aug 27
In a world constantly abuzz with never-ending demands and distractions, finding solace amidst the chaos can often feel like an insurmountable challenge. Yet, within the intricate tapestry of life lies the opportunity to cultivate mindfulness, a practice that can bring clarity and serenity, even if it's in small increments.
I know what many of you are thinking- I am too busy, I have too much going on, I never have peace and quiet, meditating isn't for me, I can't sit still, etc. Sound familiar? I know these experiences well, however, when I became willing to have a different relationship to the intricate tapestry of my own life, becoming mindful was one of the most important tools I learned.
The benefits of mindfulness are manifold. By learning to focus our awareness, we develop a keen sense of presence, leading to heightened productivity and clarity of thought. Mindfulness can foster a greater connection with our environment and those around us, promoting deeper empathy and enriched relationships. This practice also nurtures emotional resilience, allowing us to respond to challenges with equanimity rather than succumbing to overwhelming stress, similar to hitting a reset button.
To become mindful, we attune our senses to the present moment. What are we experiencing right now? Many times people assume mindfulness and mediation are one and the same. While they marry each other beautifully, they are different. Mindful(ness) is a state of being; meditation is a vehicle to a mindful state. If meditation is not your thing, don't stress. Engaging any of your senses and just simply noticing what you are experiencing is a very simple way to begin practicing mindfulness. Here are three mindful practices to engage your senses:
1. Touch- Try rubbing two finger tips together with enough pressure that you can feel the ridges of them. Notice how this feels. What sensations are present? When you're ready, gently and slowly rub your palms together. What are you experiencing? Do this for 90 seconds to a minute.
2. Sight- You can practice this at home, in your office, or outside. Take 90 seconds to two minutes and focus on something in your field of vision. What do you notice about this object? What color is it? What shape? Do you notice something about it that you didn't before?
3. Hearing- Sit somewhere comfortable and bring your awareness to what you are hearing in your environment. Now, shift your awareness to the sounds furthest away from you. What do you notice? Then, when you're ready, shift your awareness to the sounds closest to you. Maybe it's your breath. Just focus on the sound of your breath as you breathe in and out. Do this for 90 seconds to two minutes.
As you can see, these practices don't take very long. It's enough time for our brains to shift out of left brain dominance, and engage our right brain where we have access to more creativity, compassion and empathy. It brings us into the present moment where we can be free of stress, even if just for a moment at a time. When you're feeling squeezed by the tapestry of life, a quick shift in thinking can be very helpful, and these simple practices are an easy way to achieve that.
Amidst the turbulence of contemporary existence, the conscious art of becoming mindful is a game changer. Through these simple techniques we can ground ourselves amidst chaos and discover a profound sense of inner peace and emotional resilience. Embracing mindfulness can help you find the calm in the in the storm.