Have you ever listened to the sounds of nature while going on a walk? When was the last time you played your favorite song on repeat during your entire drive to work while singing along at the top of your lungs? What was the first thought that came to your mind upon smelling the aroma of your favorite meal? When was the last time you took a moment, a really long moment, and just gazed up into the night sky? Do any of these images conjure up any good memories or transport you to another time in your life when things were simpler, less stressful, and you were happier? I sure hope so. And if they have, then you’ve been practicing mindfulness all along even if you didn’t know it. Mindfulness means paying attention on purpose and in the present moment AND living in this moment in an enjoyable and harmonious way. In these examples, it was easy to not worry about the past (oh no, I just made you think about it again) or be concerned about the future.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entitled “Don’t Forget About Happy” and in it I discussed how it’s never too early or too late to work towards being the healthiest and happiest you. We can all understand that sometimes in life it seems like we’re faced with insurmountable challenges – the daily grind of work, stresses of parenting (for those of us who are parents), personal suffering from medical conditions, and the realities of caregiving for our aging loved ones. As I’ve stated on my weekly radio show on multiple occasions thus far, we have to engage in all of these human behaviors while trying to simultaneously improve our overall health status. Mindfulness transcends race, religion, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status. It’s easier than you think and can be smoothly integrated into one’s daily schedule. It’s free to do, can be done anytime or anywhere, and is simple to repeat. Broken down even further, all you have to do is 1) be intentional, 2) be attentive, and 3) remember. The order of these steps is important. Some of us practice mindfulness naturally, but for others, it can be learned. Just refer to the aforementioned examples I cited, and you’ll see. Soon exploring mindfulness will become second nature.
As a medical doctor, I always consider the emotional health of my patients regardless of the presence or absence of various physical or medical diagnoses. The reality is that mindfulness can help manage their emotions and thoughts, thereby leading to reduced emotional burden and suffering from their particular condition(s). In a way, these individuals become emotionally resilient to health status as opposed to becoming emotionally vulnerable.
I am so excited for my 4/18/18 show. I will be exploring mindfulness with leading experts in the field. They will share a framework for integrating practical mindfulness techniques into your daily existence. They will teach you how to clear your mind of distracting thoughts and mental clutter that accumulate day-to-day. For more information, tune into this important show. In the meantime, I challenge you take just a few minutes each day to be more intentional, to pay more attention, and to remember. Sound simple enough? I know you can do it. I know I will.
To Your Health!