Mindfulness gets a lot of press, and for good reason. Research shows that it is effective at treating things like anxiety, sleep quality, and even pain management. Everyone from supermodels to Google engineers tout its ability to increase quality of life.
What do you think of when you think of mindfulness?
It seems like when most people think of mindfulness, they think of meditation.
A Google image search for “mindfulness” results in several hundred photos of people sitting in the familiar meditation pose: legs crossed with their arms resting on their knees. Most of them are in very peaceful places like a beach at sunset or a grassy field with a view of the mountains.
Don’t get me wrong, meditation is probably the single best way to learn the practice of mindfulness. There is a reason the two words are synonymous with each other. I cannot think a more effective way of introducing more mindfulness into our lives than through meditation.
However, mindfulness is more than just meditation.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing our awareness on the present moment.
One great way to practice this focus is by focusing our awareness on our breath. This is a form of meditation. However, we can also be fully present in the present moment in other ways.
I have a friend who can tell you what continent a particular cup of coffee is from, just by tasting it. Asian, African, and Latin American coffees all taste different from each other. The differences are subtle, but they’re there. The same thing is true for different types of wine, whiskey, and even corn on the cob.
The only way we can tell these subtle differences is if we pay close attention. You won’t be able to tell the difference if you’re just absent-mindedly gulping that cup of coffee as you check your email or Facebook feed.
To watch an expert barista or sommelier fully immerse themselves in the experience of their craft is to see someone practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of allowing yourself to become fully absorbed in the full experience of the present moment.
By allowing ourselves to focus 100% of our awareness on one thing in this present moment, whether it is a glass of wine, the feel of our golf club, or a conversation with a close friend, we can introduce a bit of mindfulness into our every day lives. Even without the serene beach-front view.
Written by: GROW Staff