When things are going well – really well – we may feel energetic about life. Feelings of gratitude and appreciation may extend out to all of the people who provide beautiful meaning to our lives, and we may find ourselves enjoying exactly where we are, in that very moment. Being fully present is easy to do when we have something exciting going on, but what about when things aren’t as we’d like them to be? Or even – when things are quite mundane? Mindfulness is an act of appreciating and recognizing the beauty all around you with every breath you take, no matter the circumstance.
Many studies have proven the positive effects that mindfulness can have on a person. Take, for example, a 2011 study conducted by researchers from North Carolina who confirmed that mindfulness can increase a person’s well-being, reduce harmful psychological symptoms and emotional reactivity often found in various disorders, and improve the way a person regulates their behavior and mindset towards stimulating events. You can reap these benefits by practicing mindfulness every day. Don’t feel discouraged – mindfulness can be practiced at virtually anytime and anyplace.
Much of what consists of mindfulness is awareness – the intentional focus we place on our breathing, our existence, our lived, present moment. Life is fleeting and moments come and go; if we are able to recognize and appreciate each moment as we experience it, we will raise our threshold for happiness. If you want to live happier, you must simply embrace the moment you’re in right now. How are you currently feeling? What breathing patterns does your body take? Mindfulness isn’t to be mistaken for positivity – mindfulness means to practice allowing yourself to feel, breathe, and be in whatever moment you’re currently in. What does this mean?
It means if you’re feeling sad, allow yourself to feel those emotions and express them in a healthy way. Spend some time crying. Write down your thoughts in a journal. Reach out to a close friend. If you’re feeling conflicted, give yourself the time it takes to feel more comfortable moving forward with a situation. Embrace where you’re at, and approach each moment in life with curiosity – for each moment is an opportunity to learn.
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