We live in a fast paced society where getting ahead and ‘doing it all’ are held in the highest esteem. We are constantly on the go. We have fast food chains, that are always promising ‘quicker service,’ and speedy delivery which is now seen to be a positive connotation. However, sometimes we could all benefit from just slowing down. The practice of mindfulness is all about this idea. It teaches the idea of living in the moment—not worrying about the past or present—but in the now.
What is mindfulness?
A scholar in the world of mindfulness, Ellen Langer, defines mindfulness as, “the process of actively noticing new things” which will “put you in the present.” Another mindfulness expert, Jon Kabat-Zinn explains mindfulness as, “paying attention to the present moment with intention, while letting go of judgment, as if our life depends on it.” Simply, being mindful is being in the now—in the present. It is pausing and “experiencing live as we live it.”
Sometimes in our modern society full of technology, it is hard to keep your mind in the moment. Checking social media or playing a game keeps you from seeing the world around you—keeps you from having to think and observe whats right in front of you. But, mindfulness challenges you to not hide behind technology, but instead to think about the moment to perhaps learn more about the world and yourself.
How is mindfulness beneficial?
This way of living and method of experiencing has been proven to create a more mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy lifestyle for people. It has been hypothesized to improve the immune system, reduce cell damage, and thus make is possible to more easily fight off diseases. It has also has been proven to improve depression and mental illness—basically making people more emotionally healthy.
How to practice mindfulness
One of the best ways to practice mindfulness is to slow down—take in the world around you. Don’t just lose yourself in your cell phone, but really observe. Take in the colors, sounds, voices, people, and all matter of things around you. Just be there, wherever it is that you are. See how you feel about that specific moment.