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Why is mindfulness even more important now?

  • Pay attention. It's hard to slow down and notice things in a busy world. Try to take the time to experience your environment with all of your senses — touch, sound, sight, smell and taste. For example, when you eat a favourite food, take the time to smell, taste and truly enjoy it.

  • Live in the moment. Try to intentionally bring an open, accepting and discerning attention to everything you do. Find joy in simple pleasures.

  • Accept yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.

  • Focus on your breathing. When you have negative thoughts, try to sit down, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Sitting and breathing for even just a minute can help.

You can also try more structured mindfulness exercises, such as:

  • Sitting meditation. Sit comfortably with your back straight, feet flat on the floor and hands in your lap. Breathing through your nose, focus on your breath moving in and out of your body. If physical sensations or thoughts interrupt your meditation, note the experience and then return your focus to your breath.

  • Walking meditation. Find a quiet place 10 to 20 feet in length, and begin to walk slowly. Focus on the experience of walking, being aware of the sensations of standing and the subtle movements that keep your balance. When you reach the end of your path, turn and continue walking, maintaining awareness of your sensations.

  • Yoga

You don’t have to be Buddhist or even know much about Buddhism to learn the mindfulness practices, but it’s helpful to know that yoga and Buddhism have much in common. They are both ancient spiritual practices that originated on the Indian subcontinent, and they both aim to help you liberate yourself from the small, egoic sense of self and experience oneness with the universe.

The Buddhist path, on the other hand, focuses on a mindfulness of all events as they unfold in the stream of consciousness so you can experience what is happening without clinging to it or pushing it away. So, that shaking thigh in your standing pose? It doesn’t overtake your whole experience, and you don’t have to change it. With mindfulness, it just becomes one small sensation in the whole fabric of a moment. Applied more broadly, when your whole body is shaking because you’re nervous for a job interview, you can allow that sensation to be there. It doesn’t have to eat into your self-confidence or ruin the experience


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