mindfulness: living in the moment

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there are days when you will struggle to see the positives around you

this is hardly surprising when you consider the continual flood of shock news headlines you are exposed to, the advertising campaigns imposing ideals upon you, or the fact that mobile technology has made it increasingly difficult to switch off from your working day

the frenetic pace of the modern world – combined with this continual bombardment of information – means that a lot of people are now experiencing sustained levels of stress unknown to previous generation

mindfulness is about taking a step back from the outside world and paying stricter attention to your thoughts – and, in doing so, learning to appreciate the good things in your life

next time you’re stuck in a slow-moving queue at the supermarket, instead of fretting about the time you’re wasting, take a moment to actively focus on the positives instead. as you do, you’ll observe the vibrancy of the busy shop-floor, the bright sunlight streaming through the high windows, the small boy trying to stealthily add sweets to his mum’s trolley…


though it might seem improbable, something as simple as actively searching for positives in life can be transforming to your mental health. researchers from the psychology department at the university of california recently completed a study of 1000 people, in which they tested the effects of positive and negative thinking

the study’s participants were split into two groups: one was asked to keep a diary outlining 5 ‘positive’ things that happened to them each day; the other group was asked to chart 5 ‘hassles’ they encountered over the same period.
the ‘positive’ examples that were submitted by participants included the generosity of loved ones, random acts of kindness from strangers, and a sense of elation when communing with nature. examples of ‘hassles’ included overlong work meetings, difficulties in finding parking spaces, getting stuck in traffic, and – yes – long queues in the supermarket.

when the study was completed, the researchers interviewed the participants and found that those that kept the ‘positive’ journals experienced significant psychological and social benefits, as well as a significant rise in overall health and wellbeing. whereas, those participants in the group that had been asked to concentrate on the negative aspects of their daily lives saw a marked decline in such things…

you are unlikely to feel positive about the elements of your life that you don’t notice or take time to consider. however, when you enter into a state of mindfulness you live within the moment, opening yourself up to all aspects of experience – and connecting to the world with a greater sense of curiosity and wonder


conclusion

mindfulness can help you block out the white noise of the modern world – and focus on what’s important to you. 

it can transform your outlook, and give you a better understanding of your priorities and your sense of place

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