How Mindfulness Can Help Your Mental Health

I bet you have a lot on your plate. I also bet you are a multi-tasker, doing many things to get as much done as you can in the little time you have.  Because of that, you probably rush through activities and don’t pay too much attention to what you’re doing.  If you consider work, family responsibilities and other commitments, it’s sometimes impossible not to always be on auto pilot.

What if you did your next task slower and with more mindfulness?  Do you know what would happen?  You would probably enjoy doing it more and you’d get more done.

How much of your time do you really pay attention to what’s happening in your life? How often does your mind wander away from one task onto others that are pending, or to daydreaming, to reacting to people’s statements or to wanting to be somewhere else? When you become mindful of yourself, others and life experiences, you become truly present and it’s that feeling of being present that makes your life richer.

What is mindfulness, exactly?  Here are some examples.  If you were mindful while driving, you would always be aware of how fast you were driving and be able to stay within the speed limit.  If you were mindful while eating, you would be aware of how fast you were chewing, how the food tastes in your mouth, and how the smells and texture adds to your enjoyment.  If you were mindful while talking, you would be aware of other’s body language, their subtle mood changes and the full context of the conversation.

What do you have to do to become more mindful?

  1. Practice doing what you’re doing more slowly and deliberately.  Just do one thing at a time and don’t rush through it.  Your actions should be slow, complete and focused.  In spite of all the other things you have to do, if you focus on just one task, you will have a better chance of completing it and feeling good about what you’re doing.
  1. Try not to fill your day with too many things.  If you have the need to finish them all, you’ll concentrate less on doing things well.
  1. Be in the moment.  Look, Feel and Hear. Your mind will wander, but bring it back to the moment and what you are doing.  You will find that the present becomes more vivid and fresh.   Your awareness becomes less clogged with unnecessary thoughts, feelings and images and that you remember things more easily.

Mindfulness requires practice, discipline and patience.  But along with that comes an awareness of how you respond to things, to others and to events that may even be difficult and painful.  The more you stay in the present, the better you will deal with things as they unfold.  Make today your most wonderful day and make tomorrow even better.

To create a truly mindful lifestyle, you must first master meditation. Start with an introduction to mediation with a class like Morning Meditation to ease into your practice.

About the Author: Amy Sherman is a psychologist working with individuals and couples struggling with personal and professional issues that have kept them from the happiness and joy they deserve. Amy is an established author, and was awarded first place winner of the 2009 Victorious Woman of the Month Award. She is also a contributing blogger for www.BasilandSpice.com, www.EvanCarmichael.com and www.JenningsWire.com. and connect on Twitter: @boomnetwork

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