“We care about today. We live in today. If we know how to handle the present moment. We don’t have to worry much about the future. If the present moment has peace and joy and happiness the future will also.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
A couple of weeks ago I woke up in the morning and something inside of me suddenly just clicked. I realised I’d been living my life on autopilot for the last couple of days (scary, I know). The days have seemed to fly by and I feel like I’ve been missing moments and losing time.
Maybe you’ve experienced a glimpse of this when you’ve been walking down the street and suddenly noticed a good friend had been yelling out your name. Leaving you completely startled, because you hadn’t heard them.
Or when you have been in the middle of a conversation with a friend and all of a sudden they’ve jumped with a start and said “wait what? Can you say that again?”, because their mind was had been completely somewhere else.
One of my biggest fears in life is to wake up one day and look back in regret, realising that I hadn’t truly lived. Just merely existed. I know I’m still young, but I just feel like life is way too short to be mundane. I believe life should be dressed in screaming colour and it’s important to me to make sure I truly live my life, because I assume that’s the reason I’m here right?
We live in such a fast paced world that’s constantly demanding our attention. It can be so easy for our minds to live on autopilot. Whether it be dominated by fears and worries of the future or replaying the woes of the past. Or even just distracted by our technology driven lives.
I mean when was the last time you opened up your social media to quickly check in and when you were finally able to tear your eyes away from the screen you realise two hours has passed by?
You may be thinking “but what’s wrong with that? It happens to everyone”. The honest answer is nothing necessarily. But I don’t think that’s a place you want to live, because at the end of the day can you really call that really living? A life where time is fleeting and real moments of being truly present in the here and now are far and few between.
Being mindful changes that.
When you’re mindful you’re living in the present. You are aware of your surroundings, emotions and actions. Admittedly this can take a bit of discipline, but it’s highly attainable for absolutely anyone. Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to be a naturally zen or a highly spiritual person to achieve mindfulness.
I’m a huge believer that our happiness is our own responsibility. If we want change it begins and ends with us making the conscious, decision to do so and being a person of our word.
I can truly say that even just making the effort to live more mindfully (although i’m far from perfect) has helped me cope so much with the circumstances, demands and stresses that come with this beautiful mess we call life. I think what I’ve truly learnt from living more mindfully is that it’s not necessarily what happens to us in life, but our way of reacting to the events that counts.
Here are three simple ways that truly helped me on my journey to living a more mindful life!
If you think that you have nothing to be grateful for right now in this very moment. How about the fact you can read this. If you are able to read this post that means four things: you’re alive and breathing (hopefully unless there’s wifi in heaven), you were blessed with eyesight, you’ve had the privilege of learning how to read and you have access to the internet world.
The essence of gratitude that I think is so beautiful is realising everything you have in your life, you could just as easily not have. This can be especially powerful when you’re stuck in a rut it reminds you to count your blessings rather than your troubles.
Mindful Morning Practices
Okay i’ll be the first to admit that I’m the biggest culprit for waking up and rolling over to grab my phone and start scrolling through my Instagram feed. I quickly find myself being engorged and checking the latest news and gossip stories (anyone else a fan of E’s Snapchat News Story ‘The Rundown’?) .
Although there’s nothing wrong with indulging in your favourite social media apps. By doing this first thing in the morning though I always find my mind has taken off like a freight train. As I’m getting ready for the day I find my mind away wandering about the latest Hollywood gossip story and my focus for the day tends to go out the window.
So now I have a practice that upon the first five minutes upon waking up. I just sit up or stay lying down and clear my mind. By bringing my focus to my natural breathing. If my mind has a wandering thought i simply acknowledge it then allow it to pass. I just really allow myself to be aware of myself in my body.
Not stressing about what I have to do for the day or remembering something from the past. Nope those five minutes are mine and they belong to the now. Any worries and problems are irrelevant and will take care of themselves when I get there. But right now those five minutes are mine and sacred.
When I’ve begun my day on that foot it’s pretty magical the difference it makes. I find myself to be so much more productive, alert, positive and generally thinking clearer. I highly recommend you to try if even just once.
The All We Have Is Now Mentality
When you truly realise all you have is right now it truly creates a mindful shift within you. You stop waiting for tomorrow and dwelling on the past. You start living for the now. This mentality has been super beneficial for me, because if you’re anything like me. Someone who likes to control and have direction over their life (or at least think they do) . When life throws you a curve ball fear and worries especially of the future can throw you off your centre. Making you forget to live in the now. This mentality has been my anchor in these time. Reminding me that now is the only thing I have control over. As the saying goes goes “yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery. Today is a gift that’s why they call it the present.”