Have you ever gotten in the car to drive home and then tuned out so much that you pulled into your driveway and don’t remember the drive at all? It can be kind of scary to think that you were so engrossed in something else that you can't even remember driving your car. Thankfully, that muscle memory of driving a familiar route is what got you home safely. But what if we’re doing more than just driving mindlessly? What if we’re living our entire lives on auto-pilot?
Almost two years ago I realized that I had essentially been sleepwalking through the last few years of my life. I was doing all the basic functions, like showering and eating, but I when it came down to absorbing the events occurring around me, I was basically tuned out. When I started thinking about this and looked closer, I had essentially lived the same day over and over again. Nothing was changing and nothing was breaking through the numbness that I had built around myself.
Thankfully, I had a wake-up call that broke me out of my sleepwalking and forced me to wake up and look at my life. There was a fire in my apartment building that ruined half of the apartments in my hallway and killed one of the tenants. By the end of that terrifying night, the water from the fire hoses was only a few inches away from my doormat, which was an eerie reminder of just how close I had come to losing everything.
The fire really shook me up and it took me a long time to realize what a wake-up call it was. But in that moment when I was forced to take a close look at how I was living, I knew I needed to make some changes. I tried a lot of different things to put my life back on track, but finding out about mindfulness was the true first step towards a happier life for me. And now that I’ve seen how powerful it can be and how much of an impact living mindfully can make on a person’s life, I wanted to share it with you.
So, what is mindfulness anyway?
Mindfulness may sound woo woo or maybe even a little like voodoo, but there’s really nothing tricky or mystical about it. It’s so scientific that it’s been developed into its own medical program, called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). According to mindful.org, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
Living mindfully is something that everyone is already capable of and is more of a life skill than anything else. Once you start practicing mindfulness the skill will get stronger and you will see bigger and bigger results.
What does mindfulness have to do with me?
You might be asking why this is relevant to you and wondering if mindfulness would be helpful in your life. Here are some basic questions to ask yourself:
- Is stress affecting your life or your happiness?
- Do you ever feel like time is slipping by too fast and you don’t know where it’s going?
- Have you ever found yourself dwelling on an emotion and not able to get it off your mind?
- When was the last time you felt like you were truly living in the moment, not dwelling on the past and not stressed about the future?
Chances are, at least one or maybe even all these apply to you. And that’s totally normal! We have so much going on these days in our 24/7 culture that it would be hard not to feel like this some or all the time. Thankfully, mindfulness is a great way to address each of these issues, plus a whole lot more.
Will mindfulness help solve my problems?
There are many reasons that people turn to mindfulness. Usually they are experiencing some combination of stress, depression, overwhelm, anxiety, or any other feelings where your mood or thoughts are affecting your day-to-day life in a negative way.
The best way to see if mindfulness will help you is to just try give it a try and see how you like it. To get you started, I’ve created a list of “Mindful Moments” that will help you brainstorm how to bring mindfulness into your life in small but impactful ways.
I will be continuing to cover mindfulness in an ongoing series. So, stay tuned for the rest of the series to learn more about what mindfulness is, who can benefit from it, and how to get started.
What can I do next?
If you’d like to be notified when the next post in this series goes live, feel free to join my mailing list and you’ll get an email letting you know when the next post has been published. When you sign up you will also get access to my resource library as an added bonus.
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Until then, sending all the light & love your way,