Right now. All you have is right now. And that is all that you need.
This term “mindfulness” has become somewhat of a trendy topic as of late. Ask ten people to define mindfulness, and you’ll likely get ten different answers. Personally, I like to keep things simple. I boil down mindfulness to this:
Embracing the exact moment you are experiencing, right now.
It’s about putting down all the balls we’re juggling for a little bit and being fully present in the moment.
Imagine what your life would look like if you gave every moment purposeful energy. Imagine if you paid your spouse, your children, your job, your leisure time, your body, yourself - the full and undivided attention they each deserve.
What would your life look like?
For one, you’d feel more connected to the people you love. You’d also get sick less. You’d be more observant. You’d also be less stressed, which would mean less toxins released into your body that can negatively affect your memory, hormone regulation, muscle pain, anxiety, headaches, blood pressure, gut inflammation, depression, and even weight gain.
I think we tend to have a little addiction: Multitasking.
Our lives seem to depend on our ability to multitask, whether it be our families, jobs, social circles, communities, or other obligations. We love multitasking and we tend to take a lot of pride in it.
However, to effectively embrace the moment at hand, we also need to embrace monotasking.
We tend to think that if we let all those balls we’re juggling fall that we are a failure. But, mindfulness isn’t about dropping those balls at all. It is about making the conscious decision to gather them up in your arms and set them down for a moment or two.
In November 2015, I was burnt out. My mental health had taken a frightening turn for the worse, which was affecting my home life and relationships as much as my self-esteem. I remember crying and screaming into my pillow multiple days a week.
It was bad, but I believe it only got that bad because I had no idea how to manage stress, let alone avoid it or redirect it.
Turns out...yoga actually worked.
One of the beautiful (and addicting) things about yoga is that it focuses your attention on a narrow set of tasks. Not only do you get to stretch and bend your body in ways that we just don’t do between sitting in a car, sitting at our jobs, and sitting at home on the couch.
(We do a lot of sitting and it’s quite terrible for us)
Yoga also prompts you to synchronize your breath, your body, and your attention.
When was the last time you just breathed?
Without reaching for your phone? Without turning on the TV? Without grabbing for a snack? Without occupying your attention in some other mindless way?
When your mind is in tune with your body and vice versa, so many other aspects of your life fall into place.
You eat better because you are listening to your body...You sleep better because you are listening to your body…And you get sick less and have more energy because you are eating better and sleeping more!
You give 110 percent at work and at home because you’re feeling like 110 percent. You interact with people in a more meaningful way, enriching your life even further.
We can’t keep multitasking, firing all cylinders at once, and think that we won’t crash. Stress catches up to all of us eventually.
My demons told me to make a change - fast - or I would be on the road to an explosive mental breakdown. If something is telling you to slow down, too, then I suggest taking a few moments to breathe today.
You are worth it.