What is mindfulness? It’s a word that is thrown around a lot these days, but I believe that when it’s properly practiced it can work wonders.
A quick Wikipedia search will describe mindfulness as “the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training.”
While I personally discovered the practice through mindfulness meditation, here are three personal anecdotes of when I practiced it throughout seemingly random times in my life, and why I think the best time to practice mindfulness is when you are totally and completely flustered.
It was a cold, fall day as I was walking a mile and a half to my first job out of college. I was thinking about how much money I needed to save in order to pay off my student loans in record-breaking time. As I was adding and subtracting numbers while creating different savings account in my head, I heard a car pass me by and it knocked me out of my daydream. I then thought, “What if that car had spun out of control and killed me? My last thoughts would have been of me thinking about money and student loans.” I then took a moment to really look at what lay in front of me: A beautiful seen of autumn trees and a crisp blue sky you only get to witness in the first hours of the early morning.
Flash forward a few years later and I am being pouty at another job with a wave of regret because I am thinking that I made the wrong career choice. I then take a bite out of the apple I was having as a snack and the tartness of the apple was so unexpected that it took me by surprise. I then took a moment to contemplate how ridiculous the idea of me standing in the middle of a workplace, on a spinning planet that was revolving around a giant ball of energy, with the incredible odds of me being alive in this very moment, eating an apple. I then relished in the taste of the apple, and to this day, it was the most delicious apple I ever had.
Recently, I was rushing to get out of my house with thousands of thoughts running through my head. I then turned on the faucet while taking a bath and had the hot water fall onto my scalp so I could quickly wash my hair, but the steaming water felt so good that I remembered to just sit back and enjoy the present moment: the hot water surrounding my body, the steam opening up my lungs, and the opportunity to take it all in.
While I advocate for taking time to meditate whenever you can find the time, I think we can all practice mindfulness throughout the day, and maybe you will see how effective it is and why it works best when you are stressed out.
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Photo Credits: Derek Mack