Mindfulness plays an important part in dealing with and overcoming depression and anxiety. It is a relatively new term that many people don’t fully understand. However it has been practiced in many different forms for centuries.
Eckhart Tolle sums it up perfectly when he says “In today’s rush, we all think too much – seek to much – want too much – and forget about the joy of just being.”
Many people these days are in a constant state of stress, over thinking anything and everything in their lives. Media and television have programmed us to think we need the latest car, bigger house, the modern conveniences, the fancier this and that. We need to eat certain foods, to look a certain way, dress a certain way and act a certain way. It is telling us we need to fit in a box with everyone else. We are constantly in a state of thought about what we do not have. As well as all the things we want that we probably can’t afford.
Unfortunately we have created a culture where we think it matters about the ‘things’ we have and the image we put out to others about who we are and how we live.
In reality none of this is really important. Having gratitude for what we have right here and now is truly what is important.
Mindfulness is about learning to retrain our brains to focus on the importance of what actually is. The here and now. The more we practice mindfulness the easier it is to continue to be in that state. However, it does take some practice.
By practicing mindfulness we can increase our happiness by appreciating everything around us at any given time. It has proven benefits for dealing with depression and anxiety and improving our health in general.
Every morning when we wake up we make a decision. A decision to have a great day or a bad day. If we wake up reluctant to get out of bed and face the world because we think it is going to be a crappy day, then it is going to be a crappy day. You will spend your day looking for all the things that are going wrong. You will find the crap everywhere you look. If you wake up in the morning and think it is going to be a great day then you will begin to look for the good around you. Things might go wrong but keeping focused on what has gone right will definitely help you in accomplishing that great day.
To begin to practice mindfulness we need to learn to focus on our breath. Pay attention to your breath as you take a deep breath in and again as you slowly breath out. As a thought enters your head, pay attention to whether it is a positive or negative thought. If it is a negative thought, acknowledge that thought and affirm it is negative and then let it go as you return your focus to your breath. If that negative thought returns try to change it to a positive thought and then return to your breath again.
You will never stop the thoughts that constantly run through your head but learning to acknowledge them and let them go is so important. By continuing to focus on the breath you teach your mind to slow down and not over think the negatives. If you can’t stop you mind from wandering then choose thoughts of gratitude while you focus on the breath and you will begin to feel better quicker. The idea is to learn to quickly change a negative thought into a positive. The more you practice this the easier it will become.
Mindfulness is all about just being in the moment, letting go of the past and not thinking about tomorrow. Right now is the only thing that really matters. The key is to just continue to focus on the breath in this very moment. Even if you only do this for 10 minutes every morning it will greatly improve your mindset for the day. By practicing mindfulness on a daily basis you will begin to feel the stress disappear and learn to have control over your thoughts
This in turn will have great benefits to your overall health.
For more information on how to practice mindfulness click here