Are you feeling stressed out? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In a recent survey, conducted in the UK, a whopping 86 percent agreed that “people would be much happier and healthier if they knew how to slow down and live in the moment.”
It is no wonder then that mindfulness has become so popular recently.
Mindfulness is based on ancient Zen Buddhist meditation techniques that was popularized by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The idea is to focus more on the present moment and develop an accepting and non-judgmental attitude.
As many people are confused with how to practice mindfulness, below we’ve gone through the 9 essential qualities to cultivate this state of mind.
1) Focus on the present moment
Whenever you get lost in thinking about the past or future, bring your attention back to what you’re experiencing right now. Try to remain open to how things unfold, rather than having preconceived ideas to the way you think things should turn out.
2) Use your senses
Use your senses to become aware of what you’re feeling right now. What do you feel in your body? What are you seeing, hearing, doing – right now?
3) Openness to Experience
Rather than avoiding difficult emotions, embrace them with curiosity and let these emotions naturally arise. Know that they are just sensations and that in each moment they change.
You don’t have to categorize your thoughts and feelings as good or bad, or try to change them. All your feeling are there for a reason, to protect you or open you to love. Just watch them, acknowledge them and then continue to focus on the present moment.
5) Accept things as they are
You don’t have to change anything, everything is as it is. Try to see reality clearly without putting a label on it. Extend this acceptance to others, knowing that they are the best judges for what’s right for them.
Feel connected to all other living beings and feel part of nature. You can reflect on feeling grateful for the cycle of life and the food and protection that nature give us. Recognize that all other beings want to feel happy and secure and avoid suffering and feel connected by the similarities of needs.
Life is in constant flow, so you don’t need to hold onto things, people or experiences. Attachment is the basis of suffering, according to Buddha. Learn to surf the wave of life and be confident in your own ability to adapt. The only law in life is change. When one door closes, another opens.
8) Peace and Equanimity
When things don’t go your away, keep in mind that everything changes and it will eventually pass. When you do experience a happy moment, embrace it fully because it won’t last forever.
You deal gently, kindly and patiently with yourself and others. Rather than judging, or condemning, you open your heart to really listen to your own and other’s experiences.