The aroma of roasting coffee beans wafted through the air. I pressed the cup to my lips, tilted it back and felt the warmth as the bitter liquid washed over my tastebuds. Various thoughts flittered through my mind: delightful memories, anxieties, and others. I observed them all without judgment. I had done this a thousand times before, yet this was the first time I was drinking my coffee mindfully.
We live in a fast-paced and busy world. All kinds of things demand our attention and as a result, we are constantly doing something. Yet our minds aren’t truly present in a lot of the activities that we do.
A study from Harvard reveals that on average our minds wander 47% of the time, and this mind wandering is the source of a lot of unnecessary stress, and negative emotions. While most people just accept this kind of stress as part of life — it doesn’t have to be. The most important time that you have in your life is the present. Yet when we spend almost half of our time reminiscing on the past, or worrying about the future this is often to the detriment of truly appreciating the present moment.
What is mindfulness? Why is it important?
Mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment— on purpose.
Mindfulness is a practice that is taught increasingly in all professions and in all walks of life. It increases your ability to be at ease and peace—no matter what happens in life. It also has been proven to increase self-awareness, focus, clarity and compassion.
How you can improve your mindfulness
Bring your mind back to your body. Practise breathing in and out mindfully— focus on the rise and fall of your lungs and the way the air feels as it moves through your nostrils and into your lungs.