Those of you who know me know that I use mindfulness in my personal and professional life. It is something that I very much believe in, and practice as much as possible. I think it is a valuable tool that keeps me going. It really has changed my life.
I used to be a person that either lived so much in the past or became easily consumed with the future at any given moment. I would get stuck in bad memories, focusing on what could have been or what I could have done differently about it. What my life would have, could have, should have been if… (fill in the blank). Those pesky ‘what ifs’ get us trapped in worry about the future as well. It can paralyze us and prevent us from following through on a decision. Keeping yourself so consumed with the future is not productive either.
We can learn from the past, and we can prepare for our future, but what we have is right now. This present moment. We have right now to live for.
Mindfulness doesn’t mean that you can’t look back on fond memories, or look forward to something in your future. We can learn from our past, and we can prepare for something upcoming that might be difficult. Be careful however that you don’t become so consumed by it that you are missing out on today.
I’d also like to add a word on being non-judgmental and on gratitude. Part of mindfulness, about being in the present moment, is to be as non-judgmental as possible. Try to be an observer to your current experience – inside and outside of yourself. Try to limit placing value or meaning to it. Especially when this can lead to negativity. Its easy to be hard on ourselves – many of you can relate to this! Instead of calling ourselves “stupid”, “worthless”, or so many other things we put onto ourselves, try staying neutral. Things do not have to be good or bad. It doesn’t have to be black and white – there are many shades of gray.
Remind yourself of what you are grateful for. What do you appreciate at this moment? Currently in your life? Sometimes that can being us back into the present. Maybe you are grateful for your friendships, your health, your home, or your pets. With so much anxiety and stress we can lose sight of the things in our lives that enrich them. Try not to lose sight or take anything or anyone for granted.
Journal prompt: What do you have to be grateful for today? In this present moment? What is going on in your present awareness that you can learn from?
See ‘Coping 101’ for links for more info and tips on mindfulness!