The human mind works in mysterious ways. It seems as though it is wired to wander around and get carried away in thoughts. Our restless, treacherous mind sways between innumerable thoughts that make us feel good one moment and terrible another. We can think of it as a flickering flame, that appears to dwindle due to some externalities like wind or the absence of oxygen. But a flame flickers only because it lacks the inherent strength to stay firm and unaffected by the surroundings. Similarly, an average human mind is known to go through approximately sixty thousand thoughts a day. Thoughts are involuntary, they come uninvited. It is not the thought itself that matters, it’s what you do with it. When you simply draw yourself back to the present moment, all thoughts, both good and bad, comforting and apprehensive, vanish. There’s no battle then. There is nothing to escape in the present moment, and that is what a journey from being mind full to mindful is all about. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It is a moment-by-moment awareness of what we’re sensing and feeling in the present, without interpretation or judgment. It’s not something we have to conjure up, it is a quality that every human being already possesses, we just have to learn how to access it.

Why Mindfulness?

man looking up feeling mindful

We all fall into habits of mind and body, of attention and inattention, which results in our not being present for our own lives. An important antidote to this tendency to “tune-out,” to go on “automatic pilot,” is to practice mindfulness. We don’t have to take mindfulness on faith. Both science and experience demonstrate its positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships. Here are some of them –

  • Improves mental health:
    Mindfulness helps in alleviating symptoms of mental health issues like depression and anxiety. It also has shown to help increase our resilience and ability to deal with psychological stress, thus ensuring our overall mental well being.
  • Has a positive impact on our physical health:
    Mindfulness, by the significantly positive changes that it brings about in the chemical dynamics of the body, goes to the length of reducing physical pain and even slowing the process of aging.
  •  Improves concentration:
    Mindfulness can improve executive attention, increasing the ability to concentrate and ignore distractions. 
  • Improve sleep quality, reduce fatigue:
    Regular mindfulness practice can improve sleep quality, and reduce insomnia and fatigue.
  •  Uncovers our own blind spots and helps in self-contemplation:
    Mindfulness can help to expand our awareness of our own internal world by uncovering our own blind spots in terms of patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior. This increased self-awareness can improve decision-making, academic achievement, life satisfaction, and help to reduce emotional and interpersonal problems.
  • Sparks innovation: 
    As we deal with our world’s increasing complexity and uncertainty, we often struggle to think out of the box. Mindfulness also enhances creativity, opening doors where once there seemed to be only a wall.

How to practice?

When we practice mindfulness, we’re practicing the art of creating space for ourselves—space to think, space to breathe, space between ourselves and our reactions. While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques. Here are some examples:

girl meditating and practicing mindfulness
  • Meditate and feel the emotions that your breathing process brings: Sit or lay down in a relaxed position and ensure that your spine is erect. Start deep breathing and focus on the path it covers in your body. Be aware of what is happening inside as the air comes in, and then as it leaves you.  
  • Become increasingly aware of your thoughts and behavioral patterns that affect them: Acknowledge your thoughts if they come. Notice any emotions that come to you. Let them be, and then let them go. Try identifying behavioral patterns that drift you away from the present moment and start a stressful cycle of thoughts.
  • Be aware of your body: As you move your attention through your body, notice what you see, feel, hear, taste, smell. Register them, without judgment, and then let them go.
  • Be kind to your wandering mind: If you haven’t practiced mindfulness before, try to replace any judgment you might have about whether or not you’re doing it properly, with the acknowledgment that you are doing the very best you can at the moment.
  • Start writing a journal: Pen down your feelings, the challenges you are facing, and the goals you intend to achieve. Try maintaining utmost honesty while journaling your feelings and emotions, and not passing moral judgments on them.

Making it a way of living

Mindfulness is more than just a practice. It’s a way of living. Engaging with the things we do regularly – showering, walking, being, noticing – but being with them fully, with every sense switched on, and without drifting into the future or the past, might be easier said than done, but it’s a powerful way to strengthen our mind and body. If you are new to mindfulness, it’s important to be patient and kind with yourself. If your mind is full and a seasoned wanderer, it might push hard at first against any attempt to slow it down or bring it to the present. Start where you are, and with consistency along with the regular practice, you’ll reach where you want to be.

Written by Sanchita and Utkarsh


TUBA REHMAN · 9 February 2021 at 7:56 pm

This is really helpful. Great job

Roushan · 9 February 2021 at 8:04 pm

Writing down your own thoughts such wonderful solutions to overcome anxiety and what a individual wants from self ,for self.

Spirituality | BEYOND MEDS · 7 May 2021 at 5:16 am

[…] breath is the gateway to the present. Breath awareness helps in increasing the awareness of our mind, body, and emotions. Many studies have proved that focusing on our breath every day for a few […]

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