Mindfulness in Daily Life

This article was originally published on November 2, 2020.

The world seems to be coming to a halt. Sometimes everything feels so overwhelming, but that’s totally natural to be feeling during the middle of a pandemic. Heck, even if you’re a teenager or kid, school is going to be tough. College is gonna be tough. So will working at a job. But just because things can be overwhelming, it doesn’t mean it is going to be the end of you.

Mindfulness. Ever heard that word before? I didn’t until I went through some life-changing experiences during the summer. What is mindfulness, and how can it help bring peace into this overwhelming year? Mindfulness is defined as a “mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique” (Oxford English Dictionary). Though it might sound like a lot, with a couple of steps, mindfulness can help you in even the smallest ways.

The first step to starting to do mindfulness is that you have to notice what state of mind you are in. If you are in a rational mind(set), you are thinking mathematically and scientifically, using logic to explore these concepts. If you are in this state, mindfulness isn’t always necessary. An emotional mind, or a state of distress, is one of the most important times to practice mindfulness. This is when you are feeling emotionally involved and are expressing your feelings, whether that is feeling happy, sad, angry, etc. Finally, there is a wise (state of) mind. This is when you are able to go through your day to day life (normally). We are in this state frequently. After identifying what state of mind you’re in, it’s time to start your mindfulness practice.

You should find a quiet place. Mindfulness frequently consists of meditation. Meditation is one of the exercises you can use to help you get into a mindful state. It can help you become more in contact with the present moment around you while calming down your body and any stressors of the outside world. One of the most important things to know about mindfulness is that you need to be in contact with the present moment. Meditation can help you do that, but there are always other methods available for you to try out. If you would like to, you can find a meditation video or some peaceful background ambience on YouTube or Google, or you can practice a few other methods. Keep in mind that mindfulness does not have to just consist of meditation.

Here are some tips to help you become more mindful:

  • Stay in contact with the present moment
  • Observe the thoughts that come into your mind, but don’t judge them
  • Pretend like your thoughts are passing by on clouds, and you’re just looking at them
  • Notice what is going on around you
  • Temporarily let go of upcoming deadlines, stressors, or relationships with others

And that’s the simple thing about mindfulness; it can happen anywhere, anytime, even while you’re reading this article. If you’re not thinking about much other than this article, you’re staying mindful! You can even come to that peaceful state of mind while doing things that you love, like coloring, playing music, drawing, yoga, or even going for a walk or run. If you would like to, click on some of the links below that I have provided to find more information about mindfulness and some helpful meditations to do when you are stressed.

“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

The best part about becoming more mindful is that you can practice whenever you feel like it, not just when you feel pressure from the outside world. Mindfulness is helpful in daily life and can have great benefits including help regulating your emotions throughout the day. It can also help with rumination, or obsessively thinking deeply about society, reducing stress on a daily basis, memory, focus during the day, cognitive flexibility, and more!

Mindfulness exercises and other helpful links: