In this social media era we’re receiving more and more stimuli throughout the day. If you want, you can get information about anything and everyone all day long. We're constantly confronted with all kinds of opinions and photos from people who seem to be busy doing fun things all the time while you're sitting at home watching Netflix on your own. In addition, we also have stress because of our studies or work and sometimes it just gets too much. That's why there's a need for greater self-awareness and peace that goes against the fakeness of social media and searches within the truth of oneself. People are looking for something deeper to experience less stress, to become more aware of themselves and what they are feeling. A popular way to do that is with mindfulness. But does it work? Can you get calm and aware of your own body and feelings or is it all a myth? I tried it for a couple of weeks and here is what I learned from my experience:
First when I tried it, I was a bit sceptical. It all seemed very lofty that you can get closer to yourself through exercise. Just breathe in and out and feel your body, seems a bit too easy. Why would I do this anyway? But fortunately you can make it as lofty as you want. There is a famous exercise “3 minutes breathing space” where you take three minutes to first be aware how you sit and how that feels. Notice the body sensations and how you are feeling. Then you have to focus specifically on your breathing. And after that back again on your whole body. I personally didn’t like to listen to an audio where someone tells me what to do. I was never a fan of being read aloud. So, I tried it on my own but as a result, I noticed that my attention was quickly diverting from the exercise. So not a success for me. I was getting unmotivated until I discovered mindfulness is so much more than meditation.
I think the key is to make it your own in ways you feel comfortable. Because of my impatience I started to do short check-ups. A moment where you observe yourself and the situation you are in. What do you feel? What effect has this situation on me? In this way you remind yourself to live in the moment and be more aware of what you want and feel. But you don’t have to do the exercise exactly as told. Even enjoying the water falling on you when you shower. Or noticing the birds chirping while you’re taking a walk. Even really feeling the compliment you just received is mindfulness. Personally, I like to put my aroma diffuser on and just enjoy the scent. And it helps me be aware of my breathing if I sometimes try the 3 minute exercise.
Mindfulness is especially good for people who think they are not really living, who want to get to know themselves, want to know what they need and for people with anxiety. Did you know that breathing in deep actually manipulates your brain with a signal that you’re relaxed? Also does mindfulness help when worrying a lot or when you’re getting in a negative, downward spiral. Most of the time worrying is about the past or future. This way, you won’t get lost in it. Besides that, mindfulness can’t be done wrong. You need to be easy on yourself. If you don’t feel anything or can’t describe the emotion you’re feeling, don’t worry it’s not about doing it right it is about awareness and relaxing. It’s about you and everything you’re feeling is okay. Just be friendly to yourself and try again next time. If you notice that your thoughts are wandering off, just try to focus again. In conclusion, mindfulness is such a broad concept that everyone can fulfil it in their own ways.