HOW TO CAST YOUR PAIN AWAY WITH MINDFULNESS
When stress comes to disturb your mind and body, try mindfulness to restore your inner peace.
The COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt stressed virtually everyone, but amid the fast-paced, ever-changing, and crisis-fueled world, it is important to stay grounded and keep ourselves in check.
If you ever feel like you're suffering alone during this pandemic, try to remember that everyone is in this. Let's stop for a moment, take a deep breath and melt the pain away from our bodies and minds with mindfulness.
Many people associate mindfulness with meditation, as it is one of the ways to practice it. However, mindfulness is also a lot more than that.
As can be seen in the work of Jon Kabat Zinn's mindfulness-based stress reduction, also known as MBSR, mindfulness is "the awareness that arises paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally".
We can conclude that the focus of mindfulness is the "here and now" — perhaps a concept those who practice mediation familiar with.
Many people are trapped in their negative headspace filled with worries, fears, anger, and regrets, that they are not mindful of being there. It's as if you are there but are not there. This is called forgetfulness.
The opposite is mindfulness. For a moment, let's stop thinking about what-ifs, what should have been, and what is going to happen. Only then can you finally recognize the happiness around you.
Practicing mindfulness is not difficult. Anything can be the object of your meditation, and with concentration, you can make a breakthrough and develop insight. Let's follow these simple exercises to help find your inner peace.
First, let's practice mindful breathing. When you breathe in, be aware that it is your in-breath. Then when you breathe out, be aware that it is your out-breath. An in-breath may take three to five seconds, as long as you want. Simply by recognizing the two, you are shifting your attention to your breath and nothing else. Don't force it, simply enjoy your breath.
Next, a mindful exercise closely related to mindful breathing: concentration. When your in-breath lasts three to four seconds, then your mindfulness also lasts three to four seconds. Your mind is always with your in-breath. Sustain your awareness with no distraction, and feel your concentration enhanced. Continue doing so, and your breathing will unconsciously become deeper and slower, more harmonious and peaceful.
Next, take a step further by becoming aware of your body as you take a breath. Oftentimes, people's minds and bodies are disconnected – caught in the past or the future. With the energy of mindfulness gained through mindful breathing, use it now to recognize your body.
"Breathing in, I am aware of my body. Breathing out, I am aware of my body". Eventually, your mind and body become one reality, and you realize that you are fully alive, capable of being in touch with the wonders of life around you.
After you are mindful of your body, it's time to practice releasing tension from your body. Our accumulated stress might cause our bodies to suffer, and it is essential to learn how to release it. You can practice total, deep relaxation in a sitting or lying position. Next, whenever you feel stressed out, tell yourself this: 'Breathing in, I'm aware of my body. Breathing out, I release the tension in my body. Peace is possible at that moment.
Last but not least is to practice walking meditation. You don't need to make any effort. Remember, you are there, body and mind together, fully alive in the here and now. The walks will naturally become enjoyable. With every step, you will heal yourself. Every step brings peace and joy, and every step is a miracle.
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