Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment. Through the practice of focus and awareness, often accomplished in mindfulness exercises, we train ourselves to concentrate on what we are doing in the moment.
Our lives are often so busy that our minds begin to feel accustomed to being in a constant state of overdrive. Want to give it a try? Wherever you are right now, just close your eyes and take ten long and slow breaths. Drop your shoulders, relax your facial muscles and simply focus on your breathing. One breath, two breaths and so on.
How do you feel? Are you a little more relaxed? Did you find it hard to focus? By taking these pauses and practicing other similar methods, we develop the skills to recognize and let go of unnecessary distractions as they form.
Now let’s try this again. For five breaths, calmly acknowledge and accept your thoughts and feelings (both emotional and physical). Are you worried about something? Do you have a lot on your plate? One breath, two breaths and so on. Perhaps this time the exercise was a little easier. If we can quiet our thoughts and focus on them one at a time, we can better spend our energy resolving each one, rather than being overwhelmed by everything in front of us.
Renewing of Your Mind
Reflection and the cultivation of a sense of self-awareness are important parts of mindfulness. These practices can lead to an enhanced sense of well-being, among other benefits. Paul emphasizes this in Romans 12:12: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Our mindset shapes our perception of reality. Our mind influences our body and our attitude impacts our health. By practicing mindfulness, we can come to see that our mind is filled with an array of thoughts, some beneficial to our happiness and whole-person health, and others not so much. Philippians 4:8 reminds us to fill our minds with these healthy thoughts, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Taking mindful pauses throughout the day allows us to reflect on our thoughts and have self-awareness, noting how those thoughts might be affecting our behaviors, as well as our emotional and physical health. Over time, practicing mindfulness can help you more calmly manage your thoughts and emotions. Eventually, this can promote a decrease in unproductive thoughts and emotional reactivity, as well as boost focus.
Making Mindfulness Work for You
A clouded mind makes it hard for us to find clarity in almost anything we do. Mindfulness enables us to weed through our distractions, resulting in clear focus and enhanced potential.
To practice mindfulness, start by increasing your awareness of who you are and your surroundings. Observe your behaviors, reactions and thoughts to recognize patterns. Acknowledge them as they are and try not to pass judgment or analyze them. Instead, let thoughts and feelings form organically. Then, accept them, work through them and refocus. If you put mindfulness into practice, you can be better prepared to have a healthier mindset and a more productive, happy life.
By Record Staff and AdventHealth
- Have a cup of tea on the porch.
- Turn off your phone for an hour.
- List the ways God has blessed you.
- Draw, color, knit or create something.
- Find a quiet place to read.
- Memorize verses that inspire you.
- Write your thoughts down in a journal.
- Take a walk alone in a park.