Mindlessness vs. Mindfulness
Mindlessness is the state of not being aware in the moment instead of mindfulness, which refers to awareness, consciousness, and being in the present. The moment you pay attention to every little thing that happens to you and just experience these without judgment; means you are mindful of your present.
Falling into the trap of not minding the small things is easier. You either sleep, zone out, or do some heavy thinking. Who cares about the small things, right? I think you should care because sometimes small things can make a big difference.
Mindfulness requires more effort to participate in the small details of the now. However, being mindful of your life, down to the small details, can change your life.
And the practice of mindfulness is known to reduce stress and improve the mental and physical well-being of a person.
- Mindlessness vs. Mindfulness
- What is mindfulness, and what does it exactly mean?
- The ABC’s of mindfulness:
- Be Present
- The Benefits of Mindfulness
- Mindfulness training: Training your mind for mindfulness and creating your unique practice
- Turning the ordinary into the extraordinary
- Mental Exercises to Increase Mindfulness
- Sorting Out Your Emotions
- Filtering Your Words
- Creative Visualizations
- Speaking to Yourself
- Physical Exercises to Foster Mindfulness
- Breathing Exercises
- Muscle Relaxation
- Body Scan Technique
- Yoga and Tai Chi
- A few good exercises that make you more mindful of your daily activities
- How Long and How Often?
- Don’t Wait; Start Now!
- The Bottom Line
What is mindfulness, and what does it exactly mean?
Mindfulness means several different things, depending on whom you ask. First, it is a practice, or set of practices, that have formed an important cornerstone of many of the meditative traditions that have arisen around the world. Second, however, the term is mostly used to describe a particular set of practices used to achieve a specific goal.
The ABC’s of mindfulness:
The practice of mindfulness is a balancing act. Mindfulness is an art, not a science. Be sure not to try too hard, nor to try too little. Mindfulness does not come about by forcing yourself, nor by making no effort. Learning this balance is part of the practice. A heightened awareness of the details of your present reality is the first step. Do not resist anything that occurs; simply let things arise and respond with a sense of ease and flow. Let curiosity become your guide, and allow yourself to enjoy the experience of simply being.
Focus your attention on the details of your surroundings and pay close attention to your body and bodily sensations and the way it reacts to different stimuli. Notice what you experience when you are simply present.
Try to focus on what’s happening now. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by either the past or the future. Keep bringing your mind gently back to an awareness of what is happening at this moment whenever you notice yourself drifting into distraction. Stay attuned to your present experience and let things happen naturally.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
As mentioned, practicing mindfulness in your daily affairs is proven to improve your mental and physical well-being. This statement is just one of the benefits; more can be added to the list. Here are some of the benefits of mindfulness practice:
- Knowing how your body connections work
- The more mindful you become, the more you know about how your body and mind works. You can get a better glimpse of your body connections by being in tune with what is in front of you. As a result, you can choose to deal with your emotions instead of the other way around.
- Better ways in letting out anger and other negative emotions
- You can strain your emotions better by focusing on the present. Once you get a grip on the way, you respond to things, dealing with anger and other negative emotions will be easier and less troublesome.
- Lessening the impact of undesirable events and circumstances
- By being aware of the present, you immerse yourself in life’s moments and feelings. Dealing with accidents and other mishaps in your life would be more manageable because the feeling of regret is reduced.
- An improvement with your personal relationships
- One of the most important benefits of mindfulness is the improvement of your social relationships. For instance, listening better to what the other person has to say can contribute to understanding them more in the process.
- An improvement in your memory and concentration
- You will find that you retain information better once you work on your focus. You will forget lesser items, you will have greater memory, and your cognitive skills would be thoroughly improved.
- An increase in productivity and creativity
- Since you are more attentive, you will have an increased understanding of processes and devise more useful solutions in different creative manners.
Mindfulness training: Training your mind for mindfulness and creating your unique practice
As you’re developing your own unique practice, remember that the regular undertaking is of utmost importance with any form of mindfulness training.
Turning the ordinary into the extraordinary
Mindfulness practice isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do; although, it may take some time before the act itself becomes natural and automatic.
We can do anything mindfully if we choose to.
For example, when we wake up in the morning, we can make a mental note to examine and think carefully about the way we feel, to explore the sensation of waking up, reflect on the dreams that are dwindling in our sleepy minds. We can dress mindfully, examining the sensations of putting on fresh clothes or the feelings the different colors and textures evoke in our minds.
Eating breakfast, traveling to work, working on specific tasks, and returning home can all be done mindfully, all of which can become much more worthwhile because of the practice. Mindfulness isn’t only something achieved through specific mindfulness exercises – it can be something we embrace actively as a part of our lives, something we attempt to do all of the time.
It is important to practice a little bit every day to turn mindfulness into a daily routine. With this in mind, look at your daily routine and identify at least three things that you do every day without exception. Then, pick at least one of these activities and commit to turning it into one of your daily mindfulness practices.
Here are some of the best mindfulness training exercises to make you more mindful of your present:
Mental Exercises to Increase Mindfulness
Sorting Out Your Emotions
Do not zone out when you are feeling lonely, mad, in pain, or generally uncomfortable. Instead, close your eyes, pace your breathing, and confront the emotion at hand. This means allowing yourself to be swallowed by the feelings of loneliness, pain, and negativity. Experience this wholly and be vulnerable for a change.
Filtering Your Words
The moment somebody tempts you to overreact, look at the situation first and pay attention to what is fueling the fire. For example, the person in front of you may be attempting to tell you something, or he may be communicating with you as well, only he doesn’t know properly how to.
The moment you find it hard to confront your own person, you can try creative visualizations to help you. In a relaxed state, allow yourself to daydream and visualize yourself through creative techniques. Do not sleep. Close your eyes but do not doze off.
Speaking to Yourself
A good exercise for practicing mindfulness is talking to yourself in your head. This is a good way to listen to others and to filter your words before you actually say something aloud.
Physical Exercises to Foster Mindfulness
Simple breathing exercises are also an excellent way of practicing the ABCs of mindfulness at regular intervals throughout the day, as breathing is something we do all of the time but are mostly unaware of as we do it. When you find yourself being tense or uncomfortable in any way, use this as a reminder to take a deep, slow, purposeful inward breath.
Try to hold your breath for a second or two longer than you normally would. Next, feel your lungs fully inflated inside your chest before releasing slowly, purposefully, and easily. Again, feel your lungs for a second or two as they are fully deflated, and repeat. This time, when your lungs are full, take a moment to realize that you are breathing the air that surrounds you. It is so simple it can even allow you to practice mindfulness at work.
The most popular breathing exercise is the one-minute technique. To do this, simply close your eyes and breathe in and out peacefully. Next, inhale into your heart’s center, hold for at least five seconds, and then exhale heartily. Do these until you complete a full minute. With this simple exercise, you can quickly compose yourself whenever you focus on something extremely difficult.
This exercise itself is a mindfulness activity. Try to experience the full effect of the technique by listening to your breaths each time you inhale and exhale. Do not let your mind wander. Instead, be aware of your breath going in and out of your body. And remember, this is an easy way of practicing mindfulness for beginners.
Relaxing your muscles is a great way to be aware and to focus on living in the present. To start:
- Give yourself activities that help you unwind. This may include a warm bath, applying fragrant lotions to your body, and breathing deeply.
- Release the tensions in your muscles slowly by doing simple mindfulness exercises such as rotating your left and right foot, arms, neck, shoulders, and face.
- Simply flex the muscles in these areas and allow them to relax and expand.
- Work slowly through this entire exercise.
- Focus on breathing while you are flexing your muscles. When it comes to mindfulness for children, muscle relaxation is one of the activities that can be most useful.
Body Scan Technique
The body scan is an exercise where you will lie on your back, focus on yourself, and observe what goes on in your mind while staying with each passing moment. In simple words, just lie on a comfortable surface and relax. Pass no judgment with every second you spend alone, do absolutely nothing, and be okay with the whole process.
Start by finding a comfortable place to settle in. You can do the scan in your bed, on a mat, or on the floor. Then, lie on your back and settle into a relaxed state. Start focusing your attention now on each part of your body from way below to the top or vice versa. For example, focus on your feet, your legs, your chest, and so on. This is similarly used in the closing of yoga practice in a pose called “Shavasana” or dead corpse pose.
Mindfulness meditation exercises can be used as the body scan technique; only you do the exercise while in a sitting position. First, pick out a comfortable place such as the living room floor. Placing a mat to sit on can be helpful. Then, settle into a comfortable sitting position. Your legs can be crossed or uncrossed. Straighten your posture and your spine. Then close your eyes.
Find a peaceful point of focus, such as an imaginary pond scene with koi fish and trees in the background. Focus your attention on this scene wholly and calmly until you reach a state of silence that dulls everything else. Breathe peacefully. Just fall into the moment. This will improve your mindfulness skills, in addition to the many benefits inherent to basic meditation.
Nevertheless, meditation is a broad topic, and it is covered in great detail on this website. So feel free to explore our pages with information for beginners and indications on how you can get started with your meditation practice and even on how to combine meditation with other disciplines like yoga.
Yoga and Tai Chi
Physical exercises worth trying include yoga and tai chi. Both of these exercises employ stationary and moving positions that help foster better concentration and breathing. You can try this at home using helpful videos on the internet.
You can also enlist for yoga and tai chi classes near your home or hire a private instructor to help you with the difficult poses. In addition, yoga is known to improve flexibility. While both of these exercises allow you to increase your awareness of the present, they are also great sources of light activity to suit any lifestyle and demography.
A few good exercises that make you more mindful of your daily activities
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Keep the eyes closed.
- Focus on in and out-breath movement
Focusing on breathing allows you to have clearer thinking.
If the mind wanders, refocus on the breath
Sitting for awareness
- Comfortable position
- Eyes closed
- Slow down breathing
- Focus on in and out movement of the stomach
You tend to be more aware of the moment
If the mind wanders, refocus on the stomach
- Keep a good upright posture
- Walk as slowly as you can
- Take small baby steps
- Feel the heel touch, then the soles, and then toes
You tend to become more aware of your body movements
The heel of the swinging foot should not advance past the toes of the planted foot
- Look mindfully at what you are eating; enhance your sensations
- Notice the smell
- Take a bite and notice the texture/taste
- Chew each mouthful longer than usual
- Notice the sensation when you swallow
It helps you to avoid binge eating
-Don’t watch television/computer and turn off the smartphone
How Long and How Often?
Of course, your training on mindfulness will move along more quickly if you commit to a regular routine, spending a minimum of ten to fifteen minutes a day focused on mindfulness. However, if you don’t have time to consistently practice, and indeed, for many of us, this is very difficult, don’t become disheartened.
Don’t Wait; Start Now!
There are many different mindfulness activities to practice, and you are undertaking one of them at this very moment by reading about it. Mindfulness quotes, easy to find online, are a simple and effective way to get yourself to start thinking and reflecting about mindfulness. Or you can resource to a mindfulness and/or meditation retreat where you will gain the advantage of an experienced trainer to help you through your first steps.
And there are also plenty of mindfulness books and literature available these days that gives ideas and passes on wisdom surrounding mindfulness, and these writings are an excellent place to start. A little research will reveal that there are various spiritual, scientific, and psychological approaches to mindfulness, each designed to suit different people with various needs and requirements.
The Bottom Line
Mindfulness is proven both by science and Buddhist beliefs in bettering the lives of the people who participate in it. You can join the movement by following some of the tips mentioned above to improve your awareness of daily life events.
We hope this article was able to help you understand the power of mindfulness. The next step is to enjoy your life, one moment at a time. Apply what you have learned about embracing emotion and awareness to make your life better. Focus on what is important to you and find joy in going through each of life’s surprises.