Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by the uncertainty of what could happen or so bogged down by something that already happened? Many of our most uncomfortable emotions such as fear or sadness are attached to our thoughts about things that aren’t even happening right now. We are often so stressed by this that it can feel like an endless stream of what if’s or wish it hadn’t. Focusing too much on the future and the past can steal our present causing an array of disrupting thoughts and emotions. But, what if there was a way to live more fully? Insert mindfulness.
Mindfulness is paying attention, to the present moment, on purpose, and without judgment. It’s about living in the present, the here and now. This means getting out of our heads and being consciously aware of where we are and what we are surrounded by, presently. By living in the here and now we can increase joy and peace in our lives.
With mindfulness a car ride in Los Angeles traffic no longer has to be as stressful for you. You may be used to honking your horn, buzzing in and out of traffic, quickly buying your coffee at the nearby bakery while thinking about the upcoming meeting you have at work. However, living in the present means leaving the meeting in the future – for you to attend to once you get there. And before you get there, focus on what you are doing in that moment.
A mindful morning becomes driving in the car while paying attention to your surroundings. Noticing the Hollywood sign, the mountains on the east, water on the west, blue skies, the feeling of the morning breeze hitting your face, the smell of croissants at the bakery, the smile on the baristas face. Feel calmer already?
Mindfulness slows the day down and allows you to appreciate each moment – even the small moments like your drive to work. It can reduce your level of stress and allow you to more fully experience life.
The stress of your work meeting may come once you get there – but why prolong the feeling by being stressed about it in the car when you can simply enjoy the scenery of your drive? When you pay attention to your morning drive, your mind might shift to a sense of gratitude that you live in such a beautiful space. At least that's what happens when I drive mindfully in Los Angeles. I appreciate more fully the beauty of being there (I think to myself, yea I get all the hype!).
That’s what mindfulness is – appreciating even the simple things in life. As each moment comes, live presently in it.