How did I even get home?
Do you ever get that feeling of entire chunks of your day completely wiped out because you were on “auto pilot”?
There is a reason why this feeling is becoming more and more common. Never in history have we been exposed to so much information in such a massive way — psychological research is still exploring the impact of enormous amounts of information on our brain and our long term attention span.
We Live In An Information-Excess World
What we do know already is that in a short amount of time, too much information from many different mediums can contribute to our lack of attention and focus on any current task at hand.
Cell phones have made information easy and available to carry in our pockets, so we now get to carry our distractions with us. And little by little we are getting used to not being fully present in the moment.
Aside from that, there is always our acquired habit of thinking of past events alternated with concerns about the future which pushes our minds away from enjoying the present moment, or even paying enough attention to our surroundings to process and retain what could be very important information.
Ever been fully engrossed with your cell phone without realizing that there is a real person next to you talking to you and trying to get your attention?
We’ve all been there.
Consider the things in life you do automatically, like taking the trash out or your commute to work, or even a “mindless” chore you have to do around the house. Sometimes we get so used to our daily tasks and habits that we get them done while our minds are miles away the entire time.
We’ve all had that feeling of forgetting where we placed our keys and the likelihood is that you forgot where you left your keys because as you left them, your mind was completely somewhere else.
What We Are Lacking Is Mindfulness
Being mindful means being fully, purposefully present in the moment. It means observing the surroundings with focused attention and being able to truly appreciate the present moment.
It also means being aware of your thoughts and knowing how to respond to circumstances instead of reacting to them, while also remaining compassionate towards yourself.
It is — in essence — being able to observe your surroundings as well as your thoughts without judgement, contemplating and being aware.
Being mindful is not our “default setting.” The default is normally associated with with being reactive to the stimuli around us, or to simply ignore them completely. It often causes us to respond to circumstances in a way that doesn’t do our character justice and misrepresents us.
While it can be challenging to train your brain to be more mindful and present when there is so much to be distracted by — even our own thoughts.
But it is definitely a worthwhile effort we hope to convince you to make in this end article. Below you’ll find out why:
The Four Benefits Of Mindfulness
1. Mindfulness will make you a more pleasant person to be around
Have you ever snapped at someone for making a mistake, then immediately felt horrible for considering you may have hurt their feelings?
A mindfulness practice will help you think and consider all alternatives before reacting in a negative way to everyday frustrations. Mindful people know that the cliche, “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about” is actually true, so they take these things into consideration and purposefully choose to react towards a positive outcome even in a really bad situation.
Mindful people are conscious and aware of others, and they are compassionate and forgiving towards others, by realizing we are all capable of reacting in positive or negative ways to the world around us.
Wouldn’t you want the people around you to see the true, authentic you?!
2. Mindfulness doesn’t take as long as you think
If you read the article so far thinking, “This sounds like it’s going to take up a lot of time. I have no time!”— you were wrong.
Training your brain to be more mindful is an enjoyable process that can be done with whatever amount of time you have to devote to it. A 10-minute Mindfulness meditation, when done consistently, for example, can grant you the same benefits as a longer practice.
3. Mindfulness can help you stay in control
Instead of focusing your attention on the elements of life you cannot control, mindfulness allows you to stay in control of your emotions and your responses to external circumstances.
If you can consciously bring your focus back to your own perspective rather than the way you normally react to things, you are completely in control and making a conscious choice to respond in a specific way that best represents your true character.
Mindfulness is not about making people accept unacceptable circumstances by choosing to react in a certain way. It is about being able to assess the situation at hand, establish boundaries and limits, then choose an appropriate response in a calm and considerate manner that you fully are in tune with.
3. Mindfulness can make you happier
Being mindful can be very liberating. Once you start observing and focusing on your present, you are able to truly feel grateful for being alive and for whatever journey you are on. You will find it easier to see the silver lining in situations when you would — by default — complain.
Some Tips For Your Mindfulness Practice
Now you know how being Mindful can significantly improve every outcome of your life. A few elements you may start to observe changing as you start your practice:
Your focus and attention in the present moment will allow you to listen carefully to others before responding, and observing subtle changes in the environment in ways you never noticed before.
It will become easier to set an intention of how you would like to be perceived by others and – most importantly – who you choose to be as a person.
You will start to speak and react more “on purpose” than you were used to while on default mode. That allows you to be the real authentic “you,” which you are intentionally.
The most common and efficient way to cultivate more Mindful habits is through meditation. Meditation is known for providing countless benefits and one of the most cited ones is the mindfulness aspect of it.
When you sit by yourself for a few minutes a day to observe the world around you as well as the thoughts that ocur to you, your brain starts to get used to observing those same elements as you go through your day — even with the distractions and noise around you — and you start to feel more aware througout your life.
Knowing that this process can be challenging in the beginning, we decided to put together a list of Mindful Meditations that are available for free online so that you can start your practice today.
The Top Six Free Mindfulness Meditations
1. “Mindfulness Meditation – by The Honest Guys”
Time: 9 Minutes
This soothing track can help you start your practice today. It starts with a breathing exercise and it is all about observing your thoughts, aknowledging and letting.
2. “Mindfulness Bell”
Time: 5 Minutes
This track is perfect for those days when we are running around, busy and overwhelmed. It is only five minutes long and you can listen to it from your phone in a quiet corner of your office or your home for a more mindful day, even during busy times.
3. “Quieting the Mind”
Time: 16 Minutes
This calming track is meant for quieting and silencing the mind, while also reminding us how important it is to truly listen in order to make a difference in the world.
4. “Connecting to the Calm Within”
Time: 21 minutes
In this beautiful track, Diane Yeo guides you through a calming, relaxing process of acknowledging your thoughts. She stresses the importance of accepting your thoughts and letting them come and go instead of trying to empty the mind completely. She believes this is the natural process of quieting down.
5. “Mindfulness of Breathing”
Time: 26 Minutes
In this track we will focus on the physical sensations around us. This is purposely so to drive your mind away from distracting thoughts that are not conducive of a mindful state.
6. “Calm Meditation”
Time: 29 minutes
This is a 7 day program to help you live a calmer life. It’s the perfect solution for when you realize you are stressed out and you need to address it.
With this list you can start your Mindfulness practice today!
We made sure you have plenty of options that will suit your needs and we have no doubt you will be a happier, more mindful person after that.
Let us know in the comment section how your Mindfulness journey is going and don’t forget to follow us on social media for more content just like this!