The constant hassle modern life has brought, developing technology, the fear of missing out, pressures and concerns for the future… Aren’t they all so familiar? When all of these are combined, it is not odd that the concept of mindfulness, which originated from Buddhist philosophy, is quite popular today. If you wish, let’s talk a little about mindfulness, which is one of the most popular topics in recent times and offers us a starting point.
The focus of mindfulness is neither the past nor the future. It resides exactly within the moment. But it is not to be confused with “carpe diem”, which points out the snap decisions. Mindfulness is a way of life, and it can be integrated into life with regular practice, patience, and effort. The first step to this is awareness. When you think about it, how many times do you catch your mind drifting anxiously into the regret of the past or the outcome of the future? The number of the times of their occurrences are quite high, isn’t it? This situation alone is a waste of time and drags the person into an abbey until they bring their awareness to it. What’s more, this situation makes you lose focus on whatever you are performing and prevents you from fully committing yourself to the deed. These, altogether, face us with a new concept, the state of being on auto-pilot.
From time to time, although we carry out work physically, our minds may not be present in the moment, and our focus can be drawn to something outside our work. This situation is called “auto-pilot.” Let’s break down this concept with an example. Let’s say, you are off to work, as you do daily, and you get prepared. At that time, you washed your face, did your make-up, finished your breakfast and dressed and now you are outside. Now you can think about all of these things in your own experience. How many of these activities, which you perform every day and become mundane, have you accomplished fully? In performing them, how many times have you completely felt that you are present there mentally? If your answer is not “I was present in all of them,” that means you live on auto-pilot.
How to get out of “Auto-Pilot”?
Mindfulness can come across us in three different types of practice; body scanning, observation-thought, and love and compassion. Even though these techniques are effective ways to get us off auto-pilot, mindfulness isn’t just meditation. Therefore, the advice that can be given to get off autopilot will not consist only of meditation. Besides, meditation is much more than sitting, burning candles and incense. It is in everything and every moment. It shows itself in both formal forms, such as body scanning, breathing, and focusing on emotions and thoughts, and informal forms that you can integrate with the place you are in, such as doing make-up, eating, exercising, and doing chores.
If you want to get out of the daily hassle of life and wish to observe yourself from a different perspective without any judgment and figure out what is happening, then congratulations, you have passed the first stage. Realizing this and being willing is the most important decision. The next stage is to be in the moment, even with the simplest task you do. Sensing every flavour when you eat something, looking around when you go for a walk, or maybe realizing the way your feet hit the ground… This may seem too simple in the beginning. However, the moment you start to experience it, you will see how quickly your attention wanders away. Then again, it is quite normal. What matters is to bring your attention back to the task the moment you realize that and to know that you are the one in power.
How do you get started in Mindfulness?
You can start experiencing mindfulness at this very moment. Although receiving training for this is a good option, you can get help from applications developed on this subject. But let’s not forget that the only condition for these practices is you. You and your awareness… Hence, just focusing on your breathing would be a good step towards being mindful alone. Focusing on your breathing and bringing your consciousness to the moment in every activity you do will be quite enough for you to improve yourself in this subject. You can, of course, reinforce this process with podcasts, videos, books, and music as well.
A Scientific Outlook on Mindfulness
When applied, mindfulness shows positive effects on one’s life. Moreover, this is also based on scientific foundations. We can rank these effects in the following way:
- When practiced regularly, mindfulness has the ability to create new neural pathways, namely, to form new habits.
- Scientific studies carried out by many esteemed universities in Europe and America have shown that people who practice mindfulness regularly have a significant reduction in their stress levels.
- It has been proven that mindfulness has an effect on anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and obesity.
- It was also observed that mindfulness has positive effects on cancer treatment.
- With mindfulness, the level of emotions we experience and how long they will last can be determined. Thus, it is possible to get rid of the emotions that are difficult to deal with and the mental and physical problems that they will cause.
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