Mindfulness is your VIP pass to a happier, healthier you

Posted by Al Boyle
On March 10, 2024

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

 

Ferris Bueller, starting his unexcused absence from school with a bit of philosophy
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Ah, mindfulness.

You know it works, so you’ve made it a daily habit, right?

Right?

I get it. Too busy.

The lies we tell ourselves…

We’re here to keep it real, so let’s start with this: The “too busy for mindfulness” myth is about as real as the Loch Ness Monster.

No offense to Nessie, Loch Ness, or Scotland. Brilliant marketing campaign. I’d like to visit someday. And I’d buy a souvenir.

I’m much more invested in a consistent mindfulness habit.

You might be wondering how I define it, so…

What is mindfulness?

“Clear the Mechanism.”

 

Detroit Tigers right-hander BiIly Chapel, willing himself to clear his mind so he can focus only on the pitch he needs to make to the hitter.
For Love of the Game (1999)

I like the National Institutes of Health’s definition:

“You become aware of what’s going on inside and around you—your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and environment. You observe these moments without judgment.”

Becoming an objective observer of what I’m feeling and seeing resonates with me. I’m like a journalist in the field, capturing the story without bias.

The “I don’t have time for mindfulness” myth

Writer Dean Wesley Smith is prolific. He’s written over two hundred books and hundreds of short stories in his decades-long career.

He also hasn’t missed a day blogging in over eleven years.

Most people reading that would think he’s a workaholic. He considers himself lazy.

His secret sauce is consistency. He makes time for writing. And to those who insist they don’t have time, he suggests an experiment. I wish I could find the original post and link to it, but I’ll try to do it justice:

For one week, write down everything you do from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. And he means everything.

Of course, you go to the bathroom. You eat. (I hope) You shower.

You may go to work. You might have to drive to work. You might work out, and have to drive somewhere to do it.

That’s not as granular as you need to be for this exercise, though.

Do you stream movies and television?

Scroll through your social media feed multiple times per day?

Check your phone notifications?

I’m sure you see where this is going: How much time do you spend doing things that aren’t absolute musts?

You have time for it, you’re just not making time for it.

Can you spare even one minute of that time for mindfulness each day?

What about five minutes?

What about five minutes, two or three times a day?

The bigger your commitment, the bigger the difference over time.

Mindfulness activities

They can be as elaborate or as low-key as you want them to be.

Breathing exercises. Meditation. Yoga.

At home, in your home gym, in a dedicated studio…

The cool thing about many mindfulness activities is you can do them anywhere: at home, in bed, at work, walking to the mailbox, sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting at the DMV, in a jail cell, while you’re reading this…

The only thing stopping you is you.

And you’re in charge of you.

Go forth and be mindful

Give your mind a mental health break from the stress and clutter your busy life brings.

Science has shown even brief mindfulness exercises can have a significant impact on your mental and physical well-being.

So, start with a minute if you must. Or, if it’s already a habit, keep it up and keep encouraging others.

Let me know how it’s going.

Wishing you many mindful moments.

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