M E N T A L H E A L T H
Desperately trying to live a sane life amidst an impulsive, rash, and ever-growingly toxic virtual world, no matter how much we deny, most of us are gradually being gobbled up by it, turning into the very wild monsters we hate. We get stuck with whatever we are shown and fed without the slightest comprehension on our behalf. We are forgetting to think, process, and evaluate. In fact, how can we not forget when our minds have not grown enough to possess the capability to impartially judge something?
If we take time to think how many reckless decisions and reactions we took and responded in a day, we would take a couple other impulsive decisions being frustrated about ourselves. This is because many of us don’t really take time to learn what we are taught; we react without apprehending our emotions and feelings; we neither evaluate ourselves nor develop; we instantly react to whatever is thrown at us, with no empathy whatsoever; we hardly take the blame on ourselves and accept the fact that we are not perfect—even if we do, we fall into self-doubt and whatnot.
It’s high time we slowed down time and refined our thoughts, emotions, actions, and our entire personality. We all work on our external appearance, but hardly on what gets reflected when we interact with society. To have a great personality, one needs to dedicatedly work for years and develop that aura which makes one ‘a complete human’. To that end, never before has ‘mindfulness’ been more important, in order to work on ourselves bit by bit. There are people who know about it, some who practise it with or without realising, but most of us have never realised the depth of this.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is commonly defined as a trait or mental state (often treated as a form of contemplation as well as psychological therapy) that involves the intentional and intense focusing of the attention on an object (e.g. breathing, musical beats, physical movements, etc.), while observing thoughts, emotions, and sensations as they emerge in the present moment.
The 17th century French philosopher, René Descartes, asserted, “I think, therefore I am.” It follows logically, “If I am not aware of my thoughts, I am not aware of my existence.” In other words, unless we regularly take time to step back in order to observe and fully experience ourselves living, thinking, and being, it’s difficult to come to a meaningful understanding of who we really are and how we want to grow as human beings. For some people, mindfulness can primarily be a way to enhance health or performance. For others, a tool for self-exploration and reflection. And for yet others, it is a part of a spiritual path—a way to develop insight into the human condition and freedom from suffering. Irrespective of whether a person wishes to approach it from a psychological, religious, spiritual, philosophical, personal development, or professional practice perspective, mindfulness appears to be integral to how individuals construct meaningful lives and relate to the world they live in.
The key concepts of mindfulness
We need to be aware of some key concepts before we can look into practising mindfulness.
- Mindfulness requires a person to be fully present in the moment and openly deal with the experiences than avoiding those.
- A non-judgemental, composed, and compassionate viewpoint as to process and accept the things as they are, is a must.
- Attachments and holding on to moments make one suffer more. It is necessary to compassionately forgive, let the feelings flow, and move on.
- While reflecting on ourselves, we need to look out for ourselves; check if our body and mind is doing okay; if our soul is happy with the things we do; if we genuinely love nature and all its beings or not.
As humans, we are bound to love, empathise, forgive, and value people. Reviewing social feedback and accepting our faults, we must shun our toxicity and flourish our strengths.
The benefits of being mindful
Mindfulness enables us to look into the past in a patient and unbiased nature. It eventually reveals constructive insights and logical motives to various actions in our lives. It also teaches us how to respond to emotions with awareness of what is happening in the present moment, rather than simply acting instinctively—unaware of what emotions are driving that decision. Mindfulness helps reduce anxiety and depression by teaching awareness for one’s physical and mental state in the moment. It also allows for more adaptive reactions to difficult situations and makes one patient over time.
Does mindfulness require systematic meditation?
No, it doesn’t necessarily require meditation. It can be as simple as giving things a thought while doing a task that does not require much focus. But for a starter, this contemplation to be most effective, a systematic approach to maintaining a degree of awareness over the materialistic factors of focused observation is required, which is actually a form of meditation. This means, if a person was contemplating a particular emotion while focusing attention on their breathing or the concept of time, they should also remain aware of the fact that they are engaged in contemplation (breathing), and directing their attention (on the emotion) in a particular manner. This two-tier awareness process appears to help prevent getting lost in the contemplation or succumbing to thought rumination, daydreaming, or being overly conceptually absorbed.
In our hectic schedule, finding time to practise mindfulness is indeed hard. But managing time before the night’s sleep, or while sipping on the evening tea over some music, or maybe enjoying morning breeze while jogging, however it suits us, and practising mindfulness regularly can eventually make it instinctive—so that we can be mindful at any time, wherever we are, whoever we are with, and whatever we are doing, by showing up and being fully engaged in the present.
Tanzim has probably fallen asleep losing all hopes of convincing his parents that gaming didn’t cause his food poisoning. Send him ways to convince them at [email protected]