Take a Moment of Mindfulness
|By Chahna Tailor
One topic that is getting more awareness is mental health. Mental health issues may be overlooked because the signs can be subtle and may be simply accepted as day-to-day stress.
At some point, we have experienced thoughts that have a tendency to take us away from what is currently happening in the moment. Without realizing, we may grow attached to certain thoughts because they are based on what we fear or hold dear to our hearts – becoming a prisoner of our own past, or of the unknown future that lies ahead.
When was the last time you had your full attention on a task? Take this moment right here. Are you reading these words with your full attention or are you curious about what else is in this amazing magazine?
This illustrates that even in some of the most routine daily exercises, we miss out on the beauty of the present moment due to entertaining too many thoughts at once.
A way to create separation from these thoughts is to practice mindfulness – being present in the current moment and not having attachment to any of the thoughts that come and go.
The mind has had a lot of practice repeating the negative thoughts we have had in the past, and it knows how we will react to it. We let ourselves fall prey to old thinking patterns, allowing them to provoke us, giving our mind consent to drive us right into the arms of overthinking, stress, tension, and anxiety.
The more attention we give these thoughts, the more it encourages the mind to do it again – because these thoughts created a response.
With mindfulness, rather than ignoring the thought completely or entertaining it, the process is to objectively accept the thought as it is (regardless of how it makes you feel), let it pass along, and bring your focus back to what you are doing in the present. Whether you are eating, talking, reading, or stargazing, do not allow the mind to distract you from the moment and the beauty of being right here.
There is no such thing as a quick fix; it comes with practice. Think about anything you are good at: driving, writing, walking, teaching, talking, or even praying – these skills were sharpened through practicing. Staying grounded in the moment takes practice also. By teaching the mind to have full concentration in the present moment, the mind is able to break that habit of easily becoming distracted by a passing thought. Practicing awareness in the moment is one of the ways you can improve your mental health and exercise your metaphorical mindfulness muscle (say that three times fast!).
Try doing a simple task today, being present in the moment – whether it is eating, drinking, washing your hands, or taking a few breaths. Be completely in the moment and absorb as much of the moment as you can. Just to, you know, practice.
About the Author
Chahna Tailor is a certified yoga instructor with backgrounds in occupational therapy and health science. Occupational therapy opened up the doors of knowledge when it came to taking care of the Self first and leading a healthier life. This led her to the physical practice of yoga. Chahna deepened her practice by training in Rishikesh, India, where she studied the science behind yoga, the breath, and meditation. Chahna also practices personal training, Reiki, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, pranichealing, and sound healing.