They both sound so similar and yet once we look at the words closely, they not only differ in meaning , they add a whole different dimension to our mental, physical and emotional state of being.
Welcome to my weekly blog post. This week we focus on our Living Well series. We take a deeper dive into the state of our being- specifically on our moments of presence.
“Mindfulness isn't difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”- Sharon Salzburg
Often times we are all in such auto pilot modes, that we forget to acknowledge the present moment. Our minds are often full with the next thing that has to be done. Be it thinking of work, household chores, kids, parents, socializing...you name it...Our minds get cluttered often and we forget about the present!
A quick google search for the definition of Mindful- and it shows its an adjective- meaning a describing word- 1. conscious or aware of something. "we can be more mindful of the energy we use to heat our homes" Similar: aware of, conscious of, alive to, sensible of, alert to, awake to, acquainted with, heedful of
2. focusing one's awareness on the present moment, especially as part of a therapeutic or meditative technique. "tune in to your body and be mindful"
Its a conscious awareness of being acquainted with the now! Tuning our senses and focusing on the current activities, or our current emotional status. I never knew, how strong this feeling was, until I actually started observing how full my mind was and then started practicing to empty the mind of what was or what will be.....to what is!
A quick search on mind-full, did not generate a concrete definition, which was no surprise. Its something that we have cultivated into our lifestyles. Our busy lives have led to this new word. Cluttering our minds with thoughts and things that have either passed or haven't happened yet, only overcrowds it and fills it up with thoughts that are not even relevant. and in the event, we tend to lose what really is in our hands. We forget to focus on the now. We tend to be more irritable, we tend to not be good listeners, we are less focused, more fatigued and constantly on restless. So what can we do to make the shift from Mind-full to Mindful? I am being totally honest here....Mindfulness is not something that comes easily to me either. The day to day does take a toll and my mind is running through a mental to-do list. What or why then , do I write about this? - Its because, its something that is possible and something that we can be build into our every day living.
Just like any other parts of our body, the mind too needs its share of nurturing and exercising and almost like, a cleaning of sorts. Mindfulness is not something that can be achieved overnight! Its a muscle that needs to be worked and the more we practice the better we will get at being more present and being more aware.
5 ways to start practicing the mindful muscle.
Observe - Check in with yourself to observe how many times during the day your mind tends to get full with thoughts. Are there any triggers that stimulate those thoughts?
See, hear and smell - Consciously make an effort to be more present in the moment. Look around your surroundings, listen to the sounds around you, or that of your own breathing, is there something you can smell- maybe the breeze, or the whiff of coffee, or the aroma of something you are cooking. Or simply sitting and enjoying a meal.
Do a tactile activity- when we engage in activities that involve our hands - we tend to connect to the present more easily because our minds are much more involved and aware ! Like solving a puzzle, baking, painting, playing an instrument, building something. These are all ways in which the mind tends to be much more cognizant and much more focused.
Put aside some time- Set some time aside to actually check in with yourself and remind yourself of that "mindful muscle". It could be 5 mins or 15 mins. Take the time to get yourself back to the now and getting acquainted to your own feelings at that very moment.
Believe in the process- As I mentioned before, its something that I still find it hard to , however I am much more aware, much more observant and much more in control of what my mind is experiencing. Believe that it is possible and achievable and slowly you will notice and feel the change!
Take home message....
Once you begin the process and start the practice , you will easily be able to distinguish between Mind-full and Mindful and that moment of awareness will be your true conscious awakening of the mind. Give that a mindful thought :) Read more- Here are two of my favorite articles that discuss the topic in detail. https://www.mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness/ https://extension.psu.edu/mindfull-or-mindful