How often do you think about what you’re thinking about? With life moving at a breakneck pace these days, I’m guessing not nearly often enough. We often find our minds either reeling about something that happened in the past, or dreading and worrying about something that might happen in the future. But what about the moment we find ourselves in right. this. minute?
Recently, I noticed that no matter what situation I found myself in, I always had this undercurrent of stress. Feeling I should be doing something else instead of taking time to truly enjoy the moment. I would feel guilty for doing something for myself and for neglecting my kids or job or someone that might need me. Or I would be spiraling through the long “To Do List” I should be doing instead of sitting on this patio. It was robbing me of my joy and I was over it.
Mindfulness seems to be a buzzword these days, but that was really what I was lacking in these moments. As a teacher, I have been given the task of giving “Social and Emotional Lessons”. So I am not only tasked with the ABC’s and 123’s, but I also teach your child how to be an emotionally functioning human being. And while it can be frustrating to have one more thing to teach these children, it has actually been very beneficial in my own life. I learned that mindfulness, in its simplest form, is taking time to be present in your own life. To stop and listen. Listen to your mind, listen to your body and listen to the world around you.
To take it a step further, I have added a layer of gratitude to my practice. I stop and close my eyes and pay attention to what’s going on around me. I take time to notice at least three things and I find a way to attach gratitude to it. If I’m sitting at my computer and working on an article, for example, I might stop and think, “Thank you for the opportunity to express myself creatively. For a mind that can articulate coherent and potentially impactful thoughts and ideas. Thank you for the air in my lungs, that I am alive and healthy and strong. Thank you for the birds, I can hear singing outside my window.”
It’s crazy how quickly this can settle my mind and allow me to give myself permission to be exactly where I am and be perfectly okay with it. So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or your mind is getting the best of you, try incorporating more mindfulness into your day. Take more time to think about what you’re thinking about!