Mindfulness: How to Use This Ancient Practice to Bring Joy into Your Life
The practice of mindfulness has been around for centuries, but it is only now starting to become popular in the Western world. Why is this ancient practice becoming more popular now than ever before?
In this blog post, we will discuss what mindfulness is, why it’s seeing a surge in popularity, and how you can start using it in your own life.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that focuses on the present moment. When you are practicing mindfulness, you focus on your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. Rooted in the ancient beliefs of Hinduism and Buddhism, mindfulness can be practiced by anyone, regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs.
Hinduism is often considered the world’s oldest religious tradition, dating back as far as 4,000 years ago in what is modern-day Pakistan. As part of that tradition, mindfulness is intertwined with sacred texts and practices, such as the Bhagavad Gita (an ancient Sanskrit poem), yoga, and meditation.
When it comes to Buddhism, mindfulness is even more pronounced as part of the religious tradition. “Sati,” often translated as “mindfulness,” is considered the very first step toward enlightenment, the height of religious achievement.
While these ancient Eastern traditions have embraced mindfulness for millennia, there has been a more recent shift to bring these ideas to the Western world. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn studied Buddhism and brought his experience to the U.S. He founded the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School 40 years ago and more recently has developed mindfulness apps to reach a new generation of mindfulness devotees.
Why is Mindfulness Seeing a Surge in Popularity?
There are many reasons why mindfulness is becoming more popular now than ever before. Here are some of the most likely reasons for this surge:
- The world is increasingly hectic and stressful, and people are looking for ways to find peace and calmness.
- One reason why mindfulness is seeing a surge in popularity is because it’s been proven to be effective in reducing stress levels. Mindfulness helps you focus on the present moment, which can help you reduce stress and anxiety. In today’s world, where everyone is juggling work, family, and social obligations, it’s more important than ever to find ways to reduce stress.
- Practicing mindfulness has been shown to have many physical and mental health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, improving sleep quality, reducing stress levels, and increasing self-awareness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mindfulness-based interventions are as effective as medication for people with anxiety and depression.
- Mindfulness can help you focus and be more productive. When you’re focused and in the present moment, you’re less likely to get distracted by things that are irrelevant or not important.
How Can I Start Practicing Mindfulness?
If you’re interested in starting a mindfulness practice, there are many ways that you can do so. You can attend a mindfulness class or workshop in your area, or you can download an app or audio recording that will guide you through mindfulness exercises.
There are also many books on mindfulness that you can read to learn more about the practice. Or you can try a more active practice, like yoga, or set up a meditation space in your home.
However, if you want to get started right away, the best way to start is by simply sitting down and focusing on your breath. Try one of these simple breathing exercises:
Breathing Exercise 1: Exaggerated Breathing
This method is especially good if you’re feeling upset or overwhelmed and need to calm your senses. Start by inhaling deeply for 3 seconds through your nose, then hold it for 2 seconds before releasing it through your mouth for another 4 seconds. Repeat three times. As you breathe in and out slowly, focus on the sensations of each breath. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to the present moment.
Breathing Exercise 2: 4–7–8 Breathing
This is a breathing technique based on Pranayamic yoga. Start slow, as you can get lightheaded. It’s a great way to soothe your nervous system and prepare you for sleep.
Sit comfortably, with your back upright and straight. Exhale first, pursing your lips or making a whooshing sound to fully empty your lungs. Next, inhale through your nose as you count to four. After you’ve completed your inhalation, you will hold that breath for a count of seven, before exhaling completely for a count of eight. As you exhale through your mouth, make that whooshing sound again to push all the air back out. Repeat three times.
Mindfulness helps us to become more aware of our thoughts and emotions so that we can better manage them. It teaches us how to be in the present moment and how to accept things as they are. And while it’s been around for centuries, it has become popular in the Western world in the last few years.
As life around us feels increasingly turbulent, people are becoming more interested in mindfulness, which can help bring peace to your life. In addition, it is easy to learn and doesn’t require any special equipment or training.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help us live happier, healthier lives. There are many benefits to practicing mindfulness, including reduced stress levels, improved mental health, and increased focus and productivity.