MindfulnessSelf-helpSpiritualityUncategorized

How to improve your mindfulness – (and stay more PRESENT)

The present moment. Mindfulness. Enlightenment. The NOW. They’re all phrases used commonly which signify being more HERE, right NOW, during all events, situations and circumstances you find yourself in. Even when you’re doing not much at all, you still want to be present.

Being in the present is a desire for many of us. Due to the ever-growing world of distractions in our society, it’s easy for our egos to take over our minds and cloud our thoughts with those of negativity, fear or lack. Our ego’s continuous need for MORE than what we already have in this moment can very much become all we think about. We are wired to feel that what we have is not enough, and that the situation/place we are in is not very nice, and so we keep thinking about where we would rather be. Our thoughts go from the past to the future. If we’re not worrying about what we did wrong, or how things went, then we’re hoping for an hour away, or even a week. We seek a situation different from what we already DO have. All the time. Sometimes we don’t even like to deal with our current situations and subconsciously turn to social media and television. You may like television or social media, but when you’re on it blindly, scrolling, staring, with a million thoughts subconsciously going through your head, you’re more than likely feeling unhappy with the NOW. You may be procrastinating on important tasks, or simply just ‘using up time’. Either way, you’re not really experiencing the power of the now (as Eckhart Tolle puts it).

However, have you ever noticed that the NOW is all we have. Every passing second may feel unimportant because you seem to have loooooads of passing seconds. But these passing seconds add up. Sadly, time doesn’t wait for anyone. And if you’re not making the most of these precious moments, you may find yourself years down the line wondering how you ended up where you are!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll understand how precious the present moment really is – when you’ve experienced it. I say experience as if it’s this once in a life time thing you have to do (which it kind of is). It may sound complex, but really it can be seen as something quite simple. Your presence is constantly there. All the time. It is you. And being present is like being in touch with your presence (your spirit, god, love etc). In times of danger, you will instantly snap out of your ego mind and be in a state of ‘flight or fight’ – which can be another way of saying in the present. The moment when you are conscious – right there and now. You’re instinctively knowing what to do next. You hear what is going on around you. You feel your heart pumping. This is a slight glimpse of being in the present moment. But what people don’t realise, is that you can have this a lot more of the time.

However, because your mind is so deeply wired to your ego mind, it takes time, effort and patience to really develop a strong connection to the present (or your presence). But once you’ve ‘experienced’ it, and noticed the beauty in everything around you right now, it can be something you keep in mind to practise whenever you can. Being in the present can open you up to pure joy – in nothing at all – the nothing EVERYTHING.

People may already be familiar with meditation and mindfulness, but half the problem can often be staying present, or actually implementing mindfulness in to life generally. It can get overwhelming because you’re not used to being in the present, and your ego can make you feel stuck in thought. But just remember this: the present is always there. The present is the truth. The ego, is not. And YOU can control your ego – it doesn’t have to have control of you!

Here, I’ve put together 5 ways to improve your mindfulness. These simple points can be implemented in to your daily life, no matter the situation. All you’ve got to do is REMEMBER them…

  1. Focus on your breath

This is something so many people would advise. However, I use this as a pointer because not only is it simple to remember, but it is also so helpful! In the same way that the present moment is always there, so is your breath. Until you die, you are a breathing, living human being! During difficult times of stress, or when you want to relax, or if you want to experience the present, start by focusing on your breathing.

  1. Listen to your surroundings

This takes me on to point number 2. Once you have become aware of your breath, you will be able to start noticing what is actually happening around you – in THIS moment. Listen carefully, but naturally. You don’t have to really force yourself to hear what is going on, it happens effortlessly. Your ears will innately pick up the sounds around you – now all you’ve got to do is notice the sounds. This will ground you and help you to feel slightly more present also.

 

  1. Ask yourself how you’re feeling

The third suggesting I will make to you, is to ask yourself “how am I feeling in this moment?”.

Instead of instantly searching for an answer in your mind, try to go inside. How are you FEELING? When I say feeling, I mean how is your body feeling? What is going on inside you right now? How do you feel physically? Feel the feelings. And then listen for the answer. Believe all that you need to know will come to you.

  1. Become the watcher of your thinking mind

I learnt this through Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘The Power of Now’ – and when I first learnt it, it got to me. I would try to hard to do it after successfully doing it once that I couldn’t even do it anymore. It can be frustrating! But, when you have felt how you’re feeling, you can then sense how these feelings can be linked to your thinking mind.  I believe your body really is a refection of your mind. And sometimes we need to distinguish the difference between the thoughts in our head, to the real ever present ‘now’. What I mean by this, is if you consciously listen to what is going on inside your mind (it can be anything, from music, to a whirl of thoughts you can barely identify), but listen from a non-judgemental perspective, you may freely be able to notice some of the thoughts going on in there. Very often the tension within your physical body is related very profoundly to your inner dialogue. If you are stressed, resentful, angry, upset, scared, happy, in love, you’ll feel the emotion in your body. By listening to your mind, from an outsider’s perspective (like YOU are listening to your mind noise), you can get an idea as to what is causing you tension or any emotion in your body. Nevertheless, recognise it, but then come back to the present, by doing the first and second points again. Notice again your surroundings, the sound of the incredible world, or even just the sounds in your house. You’ll notice a difference.

  1. Think of the opposite of the negative emotion you feel

This brings me to point 5. Oftentimes our thoughts are so caught up on a negative emotion, feeling or circumstance. You can feel so stuck in it! You may feel desperate to get out of the situation you are in and keep thinking about another time in the future or the past you’d rather be. However, if you focus on the opposite, you will see things shift a little. By focusing on what you want to feel, you will be subconsciously attracting this to you.

So, let’s say you feel confused… think ‘clarity’. You’re stressed? Think calm. You’re feeling down? Try and think about feeling elevated and happy. Force yourself to smile if you must. Notice YOU have the power.

I hope I’ve help some of you.

Visit me on Instagram @bodylovemind  🙂

Louise xxx

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