Noodle on This: Be Mindful – Focus on the Present
Noodle* on this…
Mindfulness means moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness. It is cultivated by refining our capacity to pay attention, intentionally, in the present moment, and then sustaining that attention over time as best we can. In the process, we become more in touch with our life as it is unfolding.
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, M.D.,Founder, Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, University of Massachusetts Medical School
What is mindfulness?
Complete these two sentences:
- At this moment, I am feeling…
- At this moment, I need…
This is mindfulness , it is the foundation of well-being. The concept dates back to the Buddha: Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. According to Andy Puddicombe, mediation advocate and co-founder of Headspace, We spend so little time in the present moment that it’s anything but ordinary.
Being mindful means that you live in the moment, noticing your physical and emotional state along with what is going on around you, and accept your current state of being without judgment.
In mindfulness, you do not beat yourself up or place blame. You notice “what is so” about your thoughts, surroundings and how your actions and attitudes affect those around you. You take responsibility for your actions or attitude and make adjustments as necessary. When you are being mindful, you notice any emotions you are holding on to, such as anger or frustration, and let them go.
Benefits of Being Mindful
- Gives you the ability to pause and look inside yourself, to observe and think about your behavior, opinions, attitudes, knowledge and how they align with your values.
- Helps you stay calm and objective in difficult situations, which allows you to choose a proper response and not just react.
- Enhances your relationships with your family, friends, and co-workers because you are more authentic and caring. You are aware of how you connect and communicate with others.
- Means noticing your fears, thoughts and beliefs, then questioning them.
- Helps you be more productive, by using your strengths and identifying opportunities to overcome or compensate for your weaknesses.
- Reduces stress, anxiety, depression, negative thinking and distractions.
- Improves your mood.
Your Noodling Challenge
Mindfulness is most often associated with mediation. However, there some simple things you can do every day to help you live more mindfully.
- Listen carefully to what others say. As Stephen R. Covey describes it, Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
- Be curious: Look at the world around you. Look closely at an ordinary object – the watch on your wrist or the lamp on the table. What do you see that you haven’t noticed before?
- Check in with yourself: How do you feel right this moment. Accept that feeling without judgment or blame.
- Don’t judge: Just notice whatever you are experiencing without classifying it as good or bad.
- Say the Serenity Prayer in stressful moments: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. There are some things you cannot change. Accept them.
- Focus on one task, one thought, one emotion at a time. Give up multi-tasking. It is not productive. It is frustrating and work quality declines.
- Take care of yourself. Get enough rest, eat properly, drink water and take time for family, friends, hobbies and leisure activities.
- Pause and take a few deep breaths several times a day.
Select one of the activities above to work on over the next two weeks. Make an action plan and do it. Then, share your experience with us in the Comment section below. I’ll go first.
I say the Serenity Pray at least once a day; often several times a day depending on what is going on. Taking the time to do this forces me to stop, breathe and rationally look at a situation. What is causing the situation? What am I feeling? What, if anything, can or should I do about the situation? It also keeps me humble. I cannot fix everything that goes wrong. As life coach and author Cheryl Richardson says, Your are not general manager of the universe. The Serenity Prayer reminds me of this. It isn’t necessary to believe in God, a Higher Power, or a Supreme Being to use this prayer – serenity comes from within. Some people draw upon their religious faith as a tool to unleash serenity, others look at the wonder and beauty of nature, the face of a loved one, or whatever gives them peace.
Visit Headspace.com to learn more about mindfulness and mediation.
“What day is it? asked Pooh.
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.
~ A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
Follow Pooh’s example and live in the moment.
Riddle Me This
Q: What do you call a book that’s about the brain?
A: A mind reader.
* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm … and then act!
- Elephant: PhotoPin
- Here and Now: The Project Avalon Forum.
- Winnie the Pooh and Piglet: Red Tricycle.