What would it be like if I could accept life – accept this moment – exactly as it is?
Mindfulness, one of the most used terms in today’s time, we often hear, read, and share about being mindful. But the question is how many of us really understand it or use this beautiful technique? How much we know about the benefits of it? and, How and where to use it in day to day life? You will be surprised to know, that unknowingly we do many things mindfully. Like for e.g., when watching our favourite television show all our attention is focused on that drama and nothing seems to affect, we can feel every emotion of the character in it. Cheers!! we were mindfully watching it. Let us take another example when kids play their favourite video game and most of the times they are so much engrossed in it that they are completely unaware of background sounds like the ringing of doorbell or parents calling them, then it means they were mindfully playing it. These are all small examples from our daily life of being mindful. The time when we are doing our favourite things/job we are so much focused on it that all our awareness and energies are invested in it. Mindfulness means that only, paying full attention to the existing moment. Fortunately, we all possess this quality naturally and can use it in anywhere and everywhere and at any time. Mindfulness is an awareness of where we are in thoughts and emotions and not judging them or being overly reactive or overwhelmed by them.
Whenever we bring our awareness to what we are directly experiencing through our senses, and through our state of mind (via our thoughts and emotions), we are being mindful. Mindfulness if practised, is like a magic wand that can help us enjoy the real pleasure of life even in the tiniest of things right from drinking water to brushing, walking etc. In the fast pace life, we now rarely notice the things around and the pleasure that small moments can give. But being Mindful not only helps us to regain back that small happiness but also brings stability when it comes to emotions. In my previous blogs, I shared that we usually feel very fragile when faced with tough situations in life. But handling emotions mindfully can bring in calmness and resilience.
Mindfulness is so powerful that it can help regulate our emotions and help us gain clarity when we are feeling chaotic in mind. Recently I read an article on emotions. It explained emotions as a storm. It beautifully explained the cycle of the storm that lasts for a short period, but it literally shakes everything that comes in its way before it settles down. It waivers everything that comes on its way many trees fall but there are many that stand straight and are tightly ingrained and don’t let the storm overpower them. Similarly, emotions are also like a storm, short-lived but have the potential to damage many things in the process. It brings everything upside down and makes us vulnerable draining out all our strength. Even the strong trees also loose out their branches still they remain calm. Likewise, when we are amid a storm of intense emotions, we too waiver and feel helpless. The ones that succumb feel anxious or depressed or may turn themselves into a fault-finding mode or may indulge in bad habits or may take a drastic step. But people that stand firm and straight are the ones that can manage their emotions and not being controlled by the emotions. In the process, they also feel challenged and threatened, just like a tree shed its branches and leaves, they also shed their fear, denials, and inhibitions to bring in the management of emotions. Also, there are times when it seems that the tree will collapse in that hard-hit storm signifies that the situation in which we are trapped may overpower and break us. Bravo!!, the firmly rooted tree emerges out as a warrior and survives even after hit by the cyclone. So, can we! when we practise Mindfulness. But how that happened? Did we ever notice the trunk of the tree? The strong tree trunk that holds the roots and firmly fixes the tree in the ground. It did not itself get affected by the strong outside winds.
Mindfulness is the trunk in our life that will hold us strongly and keep deep-rooted. We may experience the high and lows, but it keeps us grounded and give strength to deal with rough patches of life. Practising mindfulness develop the capacity to withstand and let go that stormy feeling. Mindfulness does not let the emotion overwhelm us and acts as a shield to let go of those emotions.
Mindfulness helps us to deal with our intense emotions and brings in serenity. So, when faced in a storm of emotions, do not stay at the level of brain or heart. It could be stressful. Instead, bring your attention to your Mindful Breathing. Mindful breathing means paying attention and becoming aware of mind, body and breath together, observing them in a non-judgemental way. Slow, deep breathing can calm the nervous system by reducing our heart rate and activating the parasympathetic (calming) nervous system. Calmness from within comes when we focus internally. Our breathing is magical. It is therapeutic. Observe your breath, focus all your attention on it. Feel the rise and fall of your abdomen for 10-15 minutes. Gradually, you will realise that your breath has relaxed your anxious feelings. The cyclone of emotions has settled down, like the tree that stands strong after a stormy day.
Observing breath mindfully at that peak will bring us back in the present moment and will not make our mind wander between past and future. The present moment is the only moment that needs to be taken care and with this thought, we can easily regain the peace and confidence in handling that whirlwind. Else, we get into the trap of those negative emotions and victimise ourselves with various ailments.
Mindful breathing makes us realise the strength that we possess. We all have a seed of mindfulness. We all know and practise mindfulness at some of the other time in a day but rarely we do it when it comes to dealing our emotions. We just flow with emotions as if they are forever and all our decisions mend with our emotions. That may result in more problems later.
Practising Mindfulness at that time can help to relax and sort out the complexity of a situation. Let us be mindful from now and see the sparkle in “being in control of emotions” or “be the boss in managing the emotions”
Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” – Eckhart Tolle
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