Emotional health is not always easy to measure as people generally go through a range of different emotions from moment to moment. No one can maintain being cheerful all day or being sad all day. There will always be a break in the cycle.
However, we can describe our general mood for the day. But is there a way to keep tabs on our thoughts and emotions and process them without stressing ourselves out? There is a way to do this through the practice of mindfulness and it is tightly integrated with meditation.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an innate human ability to be fully present and aware in the moment and not be overwhelmed or be too reactive by the things happening around us. Mindfulness is a state where you can focus on what is going on in your thoughts, your physical sensations, etc. without judging what you observe. In this way, mindfulness is a meditation method and sadly, we don’t do much of it in our daily lives.
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally. And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn
Since mindfulness is a quality that each of us possess, we should learn how to make use of it in our daily lives so we can experience the benefits in our mental, emotional, and physical states and even in our our relationships and finances.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation provides us a time to suspend judgement and instead analyse how we think and feel and why we think in a particular way and why we feel the way we do. Mindfulness allows us to observe our experiences without judging them and instead look at them with kindness and understanding. This approach to understanding ourselves and our daily experiences has many health benefits.
Not judging yourself and extending understanding and kindness towards the self greatly reduces mental and physical stress. Too often, we punish ourselves for the things that we think we did wrong or did not accomplish but we rarely sit back and try to see why we acted in a certain way.
When we observe ourselves without judgement, we learn to accept and appreciate our flaws and weaknesses as part of who we are and we can more easily decide on how to change them to better improve ourselves. This also means, that we will be able to easily accept and even forgive not just ourselves but also the people around us.
Enhances Deeper Understanding
Being mindful and learning about our own inner workings helps us to better understand other people and through regular practise, we also learn to let things be instead of judging them in the moment. This means that we are still able interact with negative people or still behave normally even in a toxic environment without being overwhelmed or overly reactive.
Practicing mindfulness also enhances our awareness and insight not just of ourselves but of other people’s mental and emotional states as well so we can help them better in the way that they need most.
When we have a better understanding of how we think and act, we are also able to easily adjust our own patterns of thinking and our actions to align with our goals in the different areas of our life.
Practise mindfulness in your daily activities and experience the benefits in all areas of your life.
Mindfulness meditation is a practise that you can easily start doing. Find a quiet place to be alone with your thoughts and focus on them without judging them. You can also do the same type of observation in daily situations like during eating. Instead of just gulping down food, by being mindful of how you eat, you are able to appreciate the whole eating experience and appreciate its benefits. Try practising being mindful of your daily habits today.