Obsessed by ever-expanding to-do lists, social-calendars and expectations, we flit from one thing to the other trying to juggle each task, while thinking about another, pretending everything’s just fine and dandy with a big fat smile on our faces! When in reality, we are completely overwhelmed by the vast number of things we need to do, feel we should do and actually want to do. (Unfortunately the things we actually want to do, often end up taking a back seat in everyday life and so we become a slave to the everyday mundane.)
No wonder a quarter of a million people miss work everyday due to stress while 75% of all illnesses are thought to be stress-related.
One of the things that can help us manage these emotions is something called Mindfulness. This is a practice which helps us to refocus on the present moment, making us aware of our surroundings and what we are feeling and experiencing in that very moment. When we do this fully, we are not able to live in either the past or the future, neither of which exist. Yet we are all guilty (unless His Holiness the Dalai Lama is reading this – you are the exception to this rule – p.s. thanks for reading!), of spending too much time perpetually leaning forward into hopes and fears or backward toward triumphs and regrets.
Practising mindfulness can give help to boost concentration levels, improve relationships and is proven to help with stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours.
One of my favourite spiritual teachers is Thich Nhat Hanh who provides practical yet simple techniques that can be used in everyday life to bring about more peace and happiness. He was ordained a Buddhist Monk at the age of just 16 and has since worked tirelessley to pass on his message that peace can be found in every moment. He says;
“In the rush of modern life, we tend to lose touch with the peace that is available in each moment. Peace and happiness are available if we can only quiet our distracted thinking long enough to notice the blue sky, the child’s smile, the beautiful sunrise.”
Thich Nhat Hanh’s book “Peace Is Every Step” (featured on my book list to the left) is a definite read if you want some practical tips on how to appreciate the moment more, giving you a pathway to feeling more content. These tips range from how to enjoy washing the dishes (yes apparently this IS possible!) to how to stay calm when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. (I sure could do with that one!)
I don’t know about you, but I’m putting my To-do list away for the rest of today and am going to indulge in some me time – something that is essential for mind, body and soul to feast on. I hope you find the time to do the same.
Remember, the point of power is always in the present moment. The choice you make now,…..and now, ……..and now ultimately define the next hour, tomorrow and next week.