How many times have you driven and arrived at your destination without remembering anything about the trip? How often do you realize you’ve finished dinner … and you don’t even remember when you started? Don’t be shy: we know that you are part of the club “did I really shut off the gas?”, and you’re also in good company!
In this hyper-connected world, everything flows at the speed of light: even your mind often runs in a parallel direction and in an “autopilot” mode that allows you to do everything without focusing on anything. The paradox? You can complete your daily goals, while your mind wanders assuming scenarios, situations and feelings that have nothing to do with reality and you don’t realize that in the meantime … you’re living!
Doing this, you multiply stress and anxiety, and you mechanically think about the same things every day, focusing on negative thoughts and letting yourself be overcome by anxiety. If every time you drink tea, a mental projection automatically starts, and it’s all about:
- your ex who leaved you and your useless Tinder account
- the pile of bills you have to pay and the wardrobe that you won’t renew
- how nice it would be to live at the Hawaii and the last e-mail from the boss
- how perfect your life would be if you were born rich, blonde and thin (Chiara Ferragni docet)
- the weight you need to lose and how much a cream donut would solve all your problems…
… then you need minfdulness. Because to be more serene, sometimes, you should simply be present to yourself. Which means: enjoy tea with gratitude, without judging the fact that today you won’t eat the donut.
Tarantino does it better
We have exaggerated, but only to show you the mood: life goes fast, and slowing down is not enough to get out of the states of anxiety and agitation that take hold of you. Think about it: how many times are you attacked by a thousand destructive thoughts? How many apocalyptic movies of your life going in pieces can you turn in your head every day?
Before becoming a Hollywood director, falling in love with Brad Pitt and ruining everything as in any of your mental projections, we invite you to turn off the spotlight and open your eyes: around you, the world is perfect as it is. The secret to reducing anxiety is to start from the essential. The two basic things to live? Here and now, more yourself. And you are not Tarantino, you know.
What is mindfulness?
Ok, but what is mindfulness? It is a way of paying attention to the present moment in an intentional and non-judgmental way, in order to resolve (or prevent) the inner suffering and reach an acceptance of oneself through a greater awareness of sensations, perceptions, impulses, emotions, thoughts, words , actions and relationships.
Ok, so what? If you pay more attention to the present moment, you can:
- grasp the negative thoughts that contribute to making you feel bad
- have more mastery of the mental flows you repeat unconsciously every day
- dominate them and realize that …
- … they are just thoughts!
And now, the educational part! Jon Kabat Zinn defines mindfulness as: paying attention consciously, at the present moment, without judgment. When you activate the “autopilot” mode, your attention is drawn into a sequence of endless, often negative thoughts. By practicing the consciousness, you can master these thoughts and get out of the loop. If you leave the mind free to wander, it will escape from the present moment by replicating the past or imagining the future. The conscious mind, on the other hand, is always focused on the present moment without trying to change it: it simply accepts the experience and the feelings linked to it without being overwhelmed.
How were mindfulness techniques born?
Mindfulness can be practiced through meditations that develop from the precepts of Buddhism, without taking into consideration the religious aspects. Its purpose is to lead you to pay attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental manner.
Despite having roots in Buddhist meditation, the age-old practice of mindfulness has become mainstream in America in recent years thanks to Jon Kabat Zinn and his mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR), launched in 1979. Since then, in in the clinical setting, many psychological protocols have been used successfully, showing benefits and improvements in the perception of one’s physical and mental well-being.
How to practice mindfulness?
To implement mindfulness practices you must not travel to the center of the earth or change your religion or lifestyle. Mindfulness is the innate ability in each of us to be fully aware of where we are and what we are doing. No matter how far our mind takes us with autobiographical trailers: minduflness is there to bring us back to the present moment with our body.
It is something innate in each of us, which we can exercise through a series of exercises and meditations while sitting or moving, during sport or in short daily breaks.
A mindfulness exercise
If you are still wondering how to permanently close your movie production house and live in the present, here is a little practical exercise that focuses on the body … while being a meditation! Strange as it may sound, the meditations are not pindaric flights of the mind towards Nirvana, but begin and end with the body.
Here is a perfect sitting meditation for beginners! First of all, whether you are at work, in a park or at home, cut out at least five minutes and sit in a quiet place. Then:
- Pay attention to what your legs are doing: cross if you are sitting on the ground, keep both feet on the floor if you are sitting on a chair.
- Straighten your back without getting too stiff
- Place your hands on your legs so that the upperarms are parallel to your body
- Lower yourchin slightlyand close your eyes if you wish
- Focus on the moment: relax and follow the sensations of your body
- Pay attention to the rhythm of the breath for the first few minutes
- Then concentrate on the sensations of each individual part of the body, from the feet to the legs going up to the head
- Each time you relax, return to follow the breath and then pay attention to the individual parts of the body
- Don’t judge yourself,don’tget nervous: if you distract yourself, bring back to the present with serenity
- And go forward until you feel more aware of your body.
Repeating this simple exercise once a day, for 20/30 minutes a day, relaxes the body and brings the mind back to the present state.
At this point, you will ask us: can dreams help us live? Sure! But a greater awareness helps you to recognize the nightmares that take over your mind, block them and welcome the kind of dream that can be turned into a project, and then into reality. Dreams coming true are the best. And if you miss a good movie, you can always go to the cinema!
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