Mindful Living, the key to a successful and enriched life

Mindful Living

Mindful Living, the key to a successful and enriched life

You may be surprised to know that though 95% of people say that they’re self-aware only 10-15% of people actually are, according to the psychologist and researcher, Dr. Tash Eurich. It means nearly 80% of people are lying to themselves. Their level of self-awareness differs from person to person, from highly ignorant to partially self-aware. It’s further surprising that in many cases, others knew more about a person than the person knows about himself/herself. Such persons are so self-absorbed and self-centered in their own little world that they are least self-aware and don’t really know about themselves well. Unfortunately, no one teaches us the skill of self-awareness. Therefore, the majority of us are not fully conscious or well aware and awake
about ourselves and our surrounding reality.

To be self-aware and fully conscious is a meta skill, and limited, often rarely, to find in ourselves. Very often we are mindless and ‘automatic’ in our behaviour and actions. During that time, our mind is either distracted or wandering in other directions.

We are not mindfully present on the task that we are supposed to be doing. Like, while sitting in a meeting or driving a vehicle or we are busy interacting with our friends, our mind is elsewhere. We never listen attentively to what others are saying. Many of us go for morning walks as part of our exercise schedule, but do we observe our surroundings? This is what happens most of the time. We are on autopilot mode. We hardly notice what’s going around inside as well as outside us. Being mindless and on autopilot mode, most of the time is an inherent weakness of human nature.

When we are mindful, we pay attention to the present moment. We act non-judgmentally and in an open manner. We can’t be in a state of mindlessness or impulsiveness if we are fully present in every moment. When we are mindful, we can observe our thoughts and feelings from an objective distance, without judging them. The prime cause of many of our problems relating to behavior, relationships, poor mental health, etc arises from the fact that we are generally mindless, unfocused, highly distracted, and not attentive. Studies have established that the greater the mind wanders, the more unhappy and restless we are.

meditation

You may have noticed when we are disturbed, sad or distressed, we can’t remain focused or attentive on any task or activity. On the other hand, a focused mind is a happy mind. There is no suffering, sadness, or unhappiness when we are ‘present in the moment. These negative feelings arise when we are in a thinking mode. One of the root causes of modern age maladies like mental stress, aggression, intolerance, violence, hatred, etc is a lack or low level of self-awareness and mindfulness among the masses.

Mindfulness and awareness are the foundations of mindful living. Both are crucial to greater control over the mind. Awareness is the state of being fully awake and aware. It’s an understanding of what is happening, or what exists. We should try to calmly understand the nature, quality, and extent of any problem that comes our way, or is found inside of ourselves.

People with a high level of self-awareness know themselves in-depth — their weaknesses and strengths, what motivates them, and how they handle their emotions. Their self-awareness goes a long way toward directing their life in the desired direction. Such people are especially good at availing themselves of opportunities at the most opportune times. They have the ability to perceive, feel, and be conscious of the thoughts and feelings of themselves and others. Self-awareness provides the capability to look deeply into the mind.

Once we start living mindfully, we become increasingly aware of what is going on around us all the time. This is called meta-awareness, to be aware of awareness. When we are stressed or emotionally disturbed, we are able to regain equilibrium much faster if we live mindfully. In other words, we recover faster from virtually any disturbance. When we suffer from anxiety, stress, negative or depressing thoughts, the amygdala, our brain’s
integrative emotional center, is especially active. When we practice mindfulness, the amygdala, in those moments, resumes normal function much faster. People become far more affectionate, kind, and empathetic in
their relationships once they start living mindfully.

In order to exercise greater control, both internally and externally, we need to live mindfully. Attentive and focused on whatever is happening outside of us; it follows that we will act as the situation demands. In the “normal” course of events, we think and act from our habituated and conditioned mind. In the corporate world, mindful executives are capable of focusing more readily on pressing issues adapting to challenging situations and seeing from a broader perspective. Mindful leaders of big organizations are most often attuned to the emotions and feelings of their subordinates. They are more compassionate and empathetic toward their workforce. In this way, mindful executives are more committed to happiness and the overall well-being of the organization.

exercise

It’s very natural that under distressing and adverse circumstances, we will be overpowered by emotions. We usually react impulsively. We don’t think consciously and with cool mind. So, we tend to act and react in our own
habitual and conditioned way. What’s required on those moments is to be aware, fully conscious and mindful to the emerging situations. We suffer acutely after the incident because we keep on interpreting and analysing the incident in many different ways. We keep on ruminating and worrying over the incident. We are not present on the moments in hand. We are not mindful. We can reduce our suffering and distress if we try to remain mindful. Mindfulness is the way to cultivate and strengthen the ability to be mindful.

Through mindfulness-based meditation, not only we become more mindful but also enhance our self-awareness. There are many ways to practice meditation but the latest studies have shown that mindfulness-based meditation has shown more credible results compared to other types of meditation that are practiced in India. Either we can observe breathing – inhale and exhale air through nostril while closing our eyes or we recite
a one-word mantra silently in our mind. Studies have established positive results on physical and mental health. Meditation improves our capacity to focus or be attentive for a longer time. The more we practice mindfulness, the more self-aware and mindful we become. Though there are some other ways too mindfulness-based meditation works the best for enhancing our self-awareness.

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