How can mindfulness help me in my life?

Mindfulness, in definition, means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.

When you are mindful, you are present in the moment. What this means is, for example, the Buddhists talk about the chattering monkey that takes you away from the here and now. If you are busy with the chattering mind or monkey, you are either in the past or future (prediction based on the past) and will miss out on what is happening to you right now.

You cannot foretell what will happen next (in life) because many internal or external factors could influence you at any moment. If you look solely at the past or future (prediction based on the past), it could mean that you find yourself in situations and saying things like: Why did this happen? Where did this come from?

Look instead at what is around you now and how you will be more able to handle this moment as it unravels, with all the information contained in it.

In answer to the question, how can mindfulness help me in my life now? When things in life don't happen as we imagine, it can often throw us off track and cause stress in our body and mind. If we don't understand what is happening, it can further throw us off balance because we are trying to gain balance and handle what has happened using our emotions. Remember anxiety is an emotion, as is grief, regret and anger to name a few.

If we are mindful in our lives, we only need to handle the present situation instead of being overwhelmed by emotions from the past, and it's normally not just one situation in the past.

When we are fully present in the moment, we have more resources to cope with the situation because our emotions, chattering mind or monkey aren't clouding our judgment and reasoning abilities. This allows us to see more clearly, and rationally and find possible solutions.

When, for example, you have an anxiety attack, your mind is in the past or predicted future. For this reason, it is important to calm yourself and reset the stress response with slow deep breaths. Identifying the objects around you i.e. Chair, ceiling, window, tree and lamp - will help bring your focus to the physical space. Identify things with your senses, i.e. sounds, smells, touch, taste, colours, shapes, and textures - this will help bring your focus to what is happening in the world around you.

I have tested with a few experiments using both the senses and thinking, and I found that if you are using your senses, your thinking mind can't work. If the thinking mind is working, then you are not using your senses.

Remember, your senses are in the present (now), the thinking or chattering mind is in the past or predicting (based on the past), and you can't be in two different time places at once.

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